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Galaxy orbits supermassive black hole.
The crew on board the International Space Station restarted the malfunctioning Elektron oxygen system on Friday, but shut it down about an hour later. Russian engineers are trying to figure out why the system is automatically commanding itself to shut down. Commander Gennady Padalka used spare parts that were on hand to get a backup system ready if necessary. There's still plenty of oxygen available to the two men on board the station, including full tanks on the docked Progress cargo ship, and 84 solid fuel oxygen canisters which can last them 42 days.
Astronomers from the Institute of astronomy (IoA) in Cambridge, England have watched a bundle of matter at the heart of a Galaxy 100 million light-years away as it orbited a supermassive black hole four times on its way to being destroyed. The material was approximately the same distance as our Earth is from the Sun, but instead of taking a year, it only took a quarter of a day, because of the massive gravity of the black hole. By tracking the matter's doomed orbit, Astronomers were then able to calculate the mass of the black hole: between 10 and 50 million solar masses.
Scientists working with the gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (Grace) have demonstrated that they can track changes in the Earth's environment by measuring its gravity field. Launched in 2002, Grace is actually two identical spacecraft that keep track of their precise distance from each other. As they pass over the lumpy gravity field of the Earth, their distance changes, which they can measure and turn into a gravity map of the planet. The mission demonstrated that it could measure 10 cm (4 in) of rainfall in the Amazon, just from the effect of its gravity.
This perspective image of an eroded crater on Mars was taken by the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft in May 2004. It's at Solis Planum, in the Thaumasia region of Mars. The larger eroded impact crater is about 53 km (32 miles) across, and the crater rim is nearly a kilometre high. The blue-white areas at the upper left have light clouds, changing the colour.
A team of European and US Astronomers think they've taken the first direct image of a planet orbiting another star about 230 light-years away. Until now, planets have been discovered because of the effect they have on their parent star - they haven't been "seen" directly. Using the European Southern Observatory's 8.2-m telescope in Chile, the team found a faint, red object nearby a brown dwarf star called 2M1207. By analyzing the object with various instruments, they believe the object is approximately 5 times the mass of Jupiter. There's still some uncertainty, though, so the team will make regular observations over the next 2 years to see how its position and composition changes.
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