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Galaxies are islands of stars.
Nov 21, 2003 Astronomers from the University of Texas at Austin believe they've figured out an inexpensive way to search for extrasolar planets. After stars like our own Sun use up their fuel they eventually turn into red giant stars, and then shrink again to become white dwarfs. Although the process will likely destroy the inner planets, the outer planets will probably still remain in orbit around the star. These white dwarfs are known to pulsate at a specific rate, so the gravity of a planet moving around the star should affect this pulse rate by a minute amount that should be detectable by inexpensive Earth-based telescopes.
Nov 21, 2003 NASA has announced the next crew to inhabit the International Space Station: NASA Astronaut William S. McArthur Jr and Russian cosmonaut Valery I. Tokarev. Designated Expedition 9, the two men will be launched to the station some time in April 2004 on board a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. European Space Agency Astronaut Andre Kuipers will also join them for the trip and stay on the station for a week before returning with the crew of Expedition 8. McArthur has flown on three shuttle flights, and Tokarev has been on one shuttle flight.
Nov 21, 2003 Astronomers have known for nearly a century that Galaxies are distinct islands of stars, floating apart from each other in space. But it turns out that Galaxies are more connected than previously believed because of large-scale "galactic winds" which blow off of Galaxies and interact with each other. Researchers from the University of Maryland studied galactic winds in both visible and X-ray light around 10 galaxies, and found that they can often fill an area larger than the Galaxy itself. This wind is thought to come from stars and actively feeding black holes.
Nov 21, 2003 The Canadian Arrow X-Prize team has performed a successful low-pressure test of their liquid oxygen and ethyl alcohol rocket engine, bringing them one step closer to winning the $10 million X-Prize. The Canadian Arrow is based on the design of a World War II German V-2 rocket, but it's been updated with modern technology. The team has scheduled several more tests of the rocket engine at higher pressures, and hopes to make an actual launch attempt some time in 2004.
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