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30-thousand light year diameter grand spiral galaxy.
Most galaxies, like cells in the body, have only a single nucleus in their midst - but a few have more. Now a team of astronomical sleuths from Argentina have used some advanced observational and software analysis methods to determine that 15MLY distant M83 is one of the few. Could the unique gravitational effects of having two such mass concentrations (SMBHs?) account for the numerous massive super-cluster star-formation regions associated with this 30-thousand light year diameter grand spiral galaxy?
Cosmologists from Princeton are working on new tests that could help to explain the nature of "dark energy", a mysterious force accelerating the expansion of the Universe. It could be an unknown form of energy, or it could be that Einstein's General theory of Relativity breaks down at very large scales. The researchers will track the rate at which Galaxy clusters have grown in time. If this growth is consistent, it'll mean that Dark energy is at work; otherwise, it could mean problems with Einstein's predictions.
Canadian Astronomers using the MOST (Microvariability & Oscillations of STars) Space telescope have detected that a giant extrasolar planet has forced its parent star into a lock-step orbit. This interaction is between the star tau Bootis and its "hot Jupiter" planet discovered in 1997. MOST was able to detect subtle variations in the star's brightness that correspond with the planet's orbit. It's likely that the planet has forced the outer layer of tau Bootis' atmosphere so that it rotates to keep the same side facing.
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