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White Dwarf star that surprised Astronomers.
If you think current Telescopes are powerful, just you wait. A new class of observatories are in the works that could sport mirrors as large as 100 metres (328 feet) across, and have 40 times the observing power of the Hubble Space Telescope. A new study developed by a commission of European Astronomers proposes that instruments this large could be built for approximately 1 billion Euros and take 10-15 years to construct.
"Sakurai's Object" is a White Dwarf star that surprised Astronomers when if flared brightly in 1996. They originally thought it was a common nova explosion, but further observations have uncovered that the star has actually reignited its stellar furnace. Computer simulations predicted that it could be possible for leftover Hydrogen to sink into the star and drive a new flash of Hydrogen fusion. If the simulation is correct, the star will stay bright until around the year 2200.
A vast looping structure 20 light-years across has been discovered near the heart of the Milky Way. The loop was found near a star forming region of our Galaxy in the X-ray spectrum using the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton space telescope. Very high energy particles, usually only seen coming from pulsars or supernovae remnants, are streaming out of the object, so it could be working as a kind of natural particle accelerator.
Astronomers have discovered more than 150 planets orbiting distant stars, but only indirectly. Now an international team of researchers think they might have the first direct photograph of a planet orbiting another star. The image is of GQ Lupi, a young star located 400-500 light-years away. A dimmer object, potentially a planet, is located to the right of the star separated by 100 astronomical units (2.5 times the distance of the Sun to Pluto). Unfortunately, the Astronomers haven't been able to determine the mass of the object, so they can't rule out that it might be a brown dwarf.
Scientists from the European Space Agency have strongly recommended that that the next scientific mission to Mars should be a rover. The ESA's EXOMARS rover would have a similar design to NASA's Spirit and Opportunity, but it would have a suite of instruments designed to search for evidence of past or present life. The rover would arrive on Mars in 2013 to begin the search for life. The ESA is also planning a mission for 2016 that would return samples from the Martian surface to Earth.
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