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<p>This spectacular image from the VLT Survey Telescope shows the Cat’s Paw Nebula (NGC 6334, upper right) and the Lobster Nebula (NGC 6357, lower left). These dramatic objects are regions of active star formation where the hot young stars are causing the surrounding hydrogen gas to glow red. The very rich field of view also includes dark clouds of dust. With around two billion pixels this is one of the largest images ever released by ESO. A zoomable version of this giant image is available here.</p>

<p>Note that the circular features in the image around bright stars are not real, they are due to reflections within the optics of the telescope and camera.</p>


The Cat’s Paw and Lobster Nebulae
The beautiful, glowing, cosmic clouds of gas and dust catalogued as NGC 6334 and NGC 6357 now have new names.
<p>3-D visualization of chemically-ordered phases in an iron-platinum (FePt) nanoparticle. Using the Titan supercomputer at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory simulated the magnetic properties of strongly magnetic phases in the FePt nanoparticle using the precise 3-D atomistic structure obtained by researchers at University of California, Los Angeles and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Video credit to Colin Ophus, Berkeley Lab. Video courtesy of Nature.</p>
First Look at Magnetism of Real Nanoparticle
Scientist help solve a unique problem: to model magnetism at the atomic level using experimental data from a real nanoparticle.

<p>This map of dark matter in the Universe was obtained from data from the KiDS survey, using the VLT Survey Telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. It reveals an expansive web of dense (light) and empty (dark) regions. This image is one out of five patches of the sky observed by KiDS. Here the invisible dark matter is seen rendered in pink, covering an area of sky around 420 times the size of the full moon. This image reconstruction was made by analysing the light collected from over three million distant galaxies more than 6 billion light-years away. The observed galaxy images were warped by the gravitational pull of dark matter as the light travelled through the Universe.</p>

<p>Some small dark regions, with sharp boundaries, appear in this image. They are the locations of bright stars and other nearby objects that get in the way of the observations of more distant galaxies and are hence masked out in these maps as no weak-lensing signal can be measured in these areas.</p>


<p>Kilo-Degree Survey Collaboration/H. Hildebrandt & B. Giblin/ESO</p>
Dark Matter May be Smoother than Expected
Analysis of a giant new galaxy survey suggests that dark matter may be less dense and more smoothly distributed throughout space than previously thought.
<p>Interference pattern created by neutron holography.</p>


Holograms from Neutrons Created
For the first time, scientists have used neutron beams to create holograms of large solid objects, revealing details about their interiors in ways that ordinary laser light-based visual holograms cannot.

Oldest Known Planet-Forming Disk Found
Scientists find a star surrounded by the oldest known circumstellar disk—a primordial ring of gas and dust that orbits around a young star and from which planets can form.
New Technique May Help Detect Martian Life
A novel interpretation of Raman spectra will help the 2020 Mars rover select rocks to study for signs of life.
Stable Propagation of Light in Nano-Photonic Fibers
New model on how to achieve a more stable propagation of light for future optical technologies was published.

Science Facts

Backyard Telescopes for New Planets. Is it Possible?

by NASA Headquarters and

Artist Fifteen years ago, the largest telescopes in the world had yet to locate a planet orbiting another star. Today telescopes no larger than those available in department stores are proving capable of spotting previously unknown worlds. A newfound planet detected by a small, 4-inch-diameter telescope demonstrates that we are at the cusp of a new age of planet discovery. Soon, new worlds may be located at an accelerating pace, bringing the detection of the first Earth-sized world one step closer. This is the first extrasolar planet discovery made by a dedicated survey of many thousands of relatively bright stars in large regions of the sky. It was made using the Trans-Atlantic Exoplanet Survey (TrES), a network of small, relatively inexpensive telescopes designed to look specifically for planets orbiting bright stars. A team of scientists co-led by Edward Dunham of Lowell Observatory, Timothy Brown of NCAR, and David Charbonneau (CfA), developed the TrES network.

The network's telescopes are located in Palomar Observatory (California, USA), Lowell Observatory (Arizona, USA), and the Canary Islands (Spain). Although the small telescopes of the TrES network made the initial discovery, follow-up observations at other facilities were required. Observations at the W. M. Keck Observatory which operates the world's two largest telescopes in Hawaii for the University of California, Caltech, and NASA, were particularly crucial in confirming the planet's existence. The newfound planet is a Jupiter-sized gas giant orbiting a star located about 500 light years from the Earth in the constellation Lyra. This world circles its star every 3.03 days at a distance of only 4 million miles (6 million kilometers), much closer and faster than the planet Mercury in our solar system.

Although such planets are relatively common, astronomers used an uncommon technique to discover it. This world was found by the 'transit method,' which looks for a dip in a star's brightness when a planet crosses directly in front of the star and casts a shadow. A Jupiter-sized planet blocks only about 1/100th of the light from a Sun-like star, but that is enough to make it detectable. To be successful, transit searches must examine many stars because we only see a transit if a planetary system is located nearly edge-on to our line of sight. A number of different transit searches currently are underway. Most examine limited areas of the sky and focus on fainter stars because they are more common, thereby increasing the chances of finding a transiting system. However the TrES network concentrates on searching brighter stars in larger swaths of the sky because planets orbiting bright stars are easier to study directly.

Many Happy Returns!

The boomerang is a bent or angular throwing club with the characteristics of a multi-winged airfoil. When properly launched, the boomerang returns to the thrower. Although the boomerang is often thoug ...
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Stopping In Thin Air

Imagine you're going very fast -- much faster than a race car. In fact, imagine you're going 100 or 200 times faster than a race car. When you reach your destination, you need to stop relatively quick ...
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Launched on June 30, 2001, WMAP maintains a distant orbit about the second Lagrange Point, or
The Oldest Light in the Universe

A NASA satellite has captured the sharpest-ever picture of the afterglow of the big bang. The image contains such stunning detail that it may be one of the most important scientific results of recent ...
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