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Stars in our Galaxy.
Nov 17, 2005 After 4 months of operation, Mars Express' MARSIS radar instrument has gathered a tremendous amount of data about the Red Planet. So far, the instrument has been focused on Mars' upper atmosphere, or ionosphere, which is the highly electrically conducting layer maintained by sunlight. ESA scientists are working develop the first conclusions about the nature and behaviour of how this region of Mars' atmosphere interacts with the planet and the surrounding environment.
Nov 17, 2005 More than half the stars in our Galaxy are small, dim M-class stars. Until now, researchers looking for extraterrestrial civilizations have passed over them, since they probably don't give off enough light to support life. But SETI researchers now think that they might be good candidates after all. A planet in orbit around an M-class star would have billions and billions of years orbiting its slow-burning star for life to evolve.
Nov 17, 2005 An Ariane 5 rocket blasted off Thursday from Kourou, French Guiana carrying two satellites: Spaceway 2 broadcast satellite for DIRECTV, and the Telcom 2 communications satellite for PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk. The combined weight of the two satellites was more than 8,000 kg (17,500 pounds), making this the heaviest double payload ever launched.
Nov 17, 2005 NASA/Stanford's Gravity Probe B spacecraft recently wrapped up a year of gathering data about the Earth's gravity field. If Einstein was correct, the Earth's rotation should twist up our planet's gravity field like a vortex. scientists at NASA and Stanford are now analyzing the mountains of data sent back by the spacecraft to detect any shift in its orientation, which would indicate this vortex of gravity.
Nov 17, 2005 Astrophysicists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have developed a computer simulation that fails to support one of two major theories of star formation: the competitive accretion model. In this model, clumps form in Hydrogen clouds which then collapse to form stars which compete with surrounding stars for material. The simulation showed that turbulence around the newborn star would prevent additional material from falling into the star.
Nov 17, 2005 NASA's Spirit Mars rover recently observed the Martian Moon Phobos pass through Mars' shadow. When this event happens here on Earth, it's called a lunar eclipse, as the Moon darkens and then brightens again as it passes through our shadow. This "Phobal eclipse" lasted about 26 minutes, but Spirit was only able to capture images from the first 15 minutes.
Nov 17, 2005 This is the best photograph ever taken of Saturn's F ring shepherd Moon Pandora, taken by the spacecraft on September 5, 2005. This tiny Moon is only 84 kilometers (52 miles) across, and covered in grooves and small ridges. This indicates that it's probably coated in dust-sized material, which then fractures in places. Cassini was 52,000 kilometers (32,000 miles) from Pandora when it took this picture.
Nov 17, 2005 ESA's Integral gamma-ray observatory has discovered a new class of X-ray fast transient binary stars, which had gone undiscovered in previous observations. This new class of double stars systems always has a bright supergiant star with some kind of compact companion - like a black hole, neutron star or pulsar. It gives off energetic busts of X-rays which flare up quickly and then fade away. It's possible that the compact companion tangles up the supergiant's powerful solar wind with its gravity, and then feeds on it in bits and pieces.
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