Pan-STARRS Releases ‘Census Of The Universe’ To The World

Chance are the name “Pan-STARRS” has a familiar ring to it. Beside turning up near-Earth asteroids every week, the Pan-STARRS-1 telescope has  tracked down several bright comets in recent years. In fact, that’s its primary purpose — to discover and track potential Earth-approaching objects, map their orbits and determine if any might pose a threat to our planet…
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Heavenly Ho Ho Ho! From A Cosmic Santa Claus

If you look closely, you might be able to picture the face of Santa Claus in these festive pink clouds. You’re seeing two overlapping glowing nebulas called NGC 248 in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), a small galaxy that orbits the Milky Way like a planet orbit the sun. Intense radiation from hot young stars in the center…
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So So Many Galaxies, So So Little Time

Used to be there were between 100 and 200 billion galaxies in the universe. Plenty to go around. That was the estimate up until this fall, when an international team, led by Christopher Conselice from the University of Nottingham (UK) concluded there are at least 10 times that number or 1 to 2 trillion! Astronomers…
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Great Balls Of Fire! Hubble Discovers A Real ‘Shooting’ Star

I loved Roman candles as a kid. You know the firework. You light one end and it shoots out balls of fire from the other. I never imagined we’d find the stellar equivalent of this July 4th favorite, but a team of astronomer’s using the Hubble Space Telescope did just that. In a recent paper they report the…
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ALMA Goes Fossil Hunting With Hubble, Discovers Gassy Past

Back in 2004 the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (UDF) images blew our minds. 10,000 galaxies visible in an otherwise empty region of sky 1/10th the diameter of the full moon. How’s that? If every fly-speck of sky is similarly jammed with stellar pinwheels, there must be billions of galaxies above us. And there are! These spectacular…
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