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Earth went through a snowball glaciation.


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New kind of object discovered?

Radio Astronomers have detected a series of powerful radio wave blasts from near the centre of the Milky Way that defies an easy explanation, and could lead to the discovery of a new class of object. The team was watching the galactic centre with the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array when they saw 5 bursts occur every 77 minutes, each lasting 10 minutes long. The team will attempt to match up X-rays to the radio busts, as it will help pin down the source of these unusual emissions.

Did clouds in space cause snowball Earth?

Scientists are fairly certain that the Earth went through a snowball glaciation 600-800 million years ago, when the entire planet was locked in snow and ice. One new theory to explain this extreme cooling is the possibility that the solar system passed through an interstellar cloud of dust and gas, which obscured the light from the Sun. Even if the cloud wasn't thick enough to obscure light from the Sun, it could have enabled charged particles to pass into the Earth's atmosphere and destroy the ozone layer. These clouds are huge, and it would take the solar system 500,000 years to pass through one.

Sideways motion of a galaxy measured.

Imagine you had a telescope powerful enough to watch a snail crawling across the surface of Mars. Divide that speed by 100, and that's how quickly Galaxy M33 is moving sideways in the sky. Radio Astronomers achieved this astounding measurement with the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), which was even more difficult because they had to cancel out the Earth's motion around the Sun. Astronomers have watched Galaxies speed away or move towards us for years, but this is the first time the sideways (or proper) motion of a Galaxy this distant has been recorded.

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