The Great Chain of Galaxies –“Crater Cloud to the Virgo Supercluster”

 

NGC 3981

 

“Imagine the beings that exist there!” Is our thought every time we look at the spectacular ESO image of spiral galaxy NGC 3981 suspended in the inky blackness of space. NGC 3981, lying approximately 65 million light years from Earth, is part of the NGC 4038 group, which also contains the well-known interacting Antennae Galaxies. This group is part of the larger Crater Cloud, which is itself a smaller component of the Virgo Supercluster, the colossal collection of galaxies that harbors our Milky Way galaxy.

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New Gigantic Exoplanets Discovered With Orbits of 15-40 Years

 

Jupiter Sized Exoplanet

 

Over 4000 exoplanets have been discovered since the first one in 1995, but the vast majority of them orbit their stars with relatively short periods of revolution. But five new planets have been discovered with periods of revolution between 15.6 and 40.4 years, with masses ranging approximately from 3 to 27 times that of Jupiter. A new study using the EULER telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile increases the list of 26 planets with a rotation period greater than 15 years.

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“Momentous Shift” –Emergence of 1st Molecule 100,000 Years After the Big Bang

First Molecule in the Cosmos

 

“It was the beginning of chemistry,” said David Neufeld, a professor of molecular astrophysics  at John Hopkins University and co-author of a study published Wednesday detailing how—after a multi-decade search—scientists finally detected the elusive molecule HeH+ in space — the first step on a path of increasing complexity in the Universe, “as momentous a shift as the one from single-cell to multicellular life on Earth,” he told AFP. “The discovery is a dramatic and beautiful demonstration of Nature’s tendency to form molecules.”

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“World of Two Suns”–Kepler-47 System So Compact Would Fit Inside Earth’s Orbit

Binary Stars

 

The Kepler-47 planetary system is an example of the diversity of solar systems outside our own. Despite having two “suns,” the entire system is so compact that it would fit inside the orbit of Earth. A team of astronomers from the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, discovered a third planet in the system approximately 3,340 light-years away in the direction of the constellation Cygnus.

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“Proof?” –‘Oumuamua-Like’ Interstellar Object Struck Earth in 2014

Oumuamua Interstellar Object

 

Interstellar meteors may be common, and could potentially help life travel from star to star throughout the Milky Way, according to Harvard astronomer’s Amir Siraj and Avi Loeb who report that they have uncovered possible evidence of an extrasolar object striking the Earth back in 2014 from their study of the Center for Near-Earth Object database. They were searching the data for telltale objects that traveled faster than normal, suggesting that it was likely ejected out of an alien star system.

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Cassini’s Last Flyby –“Titan’s Mystery World of Liquid Hydrocarbons”

Saturn'sTitan

 

“Every time we make discoveries on Titan, Titan becomes more and more mysterious,” said Marco Mastrogiuseppe, Cassini radar scientist at Caltech in Pasadena, California. “It is as if you looked down on the Earth’s North Pole and could see that North America had completely different geologic setting for bodies of liquid than Asia does,” added Jonathan Lunine, Director of the Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science at Cornell University.

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