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Thorfinn Hrolfsson
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Thorfinn Hrolfsson

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Happy Friday!
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New research by a UT Dallas astrophysicist provides revelations about the most energetic event in the universe — the merging of two spinning, orbiting black holes into a much larger black hole.

The work by Dr. Michael Kesden, assistant professor of physics at UT Dallas, and his colleagues provides for the first time solutions to decades-old equations that describe conditions as two black holes in a binary system orbit each other and spiral in toward a collision.
New research by a UT Dallas astrophysicist provides revelations about the most energetic event in the universe — the merging of two spinning, orbiting black holes into a much larger black hole. The work by Dr. Michael Kesden, assistant professor of physics at UT Dallas, and his colleagues ...
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Mandarin duck portrait
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NASA’S Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution has completed the first of five deep-dip manoeuvres designed to gather measurements closer to the lower end of the Martian upper atmosphere.

“During normal science mapping, we make measurements between an altitude of about 150 km and 6,200 km above the surface,” said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator at the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder. “During the deep-dip campaigns, we lower the lowest altitude in the orbit, known as periapsis, to about 125 km, which allows us to take measurements throughout the entire upper atmosphere.”
The first of five scheduled "deep-dip" maneuvers was designed to gather measurements closer to the lower end of Mars' upper atmosphere.
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Research by New York University Biology Professor Michael Rampino concludes that Earth's infrequent but predictable path around and through our Galaxy's disc may have a direct and significant effect on geological and biological phenomena occurring on Earth. In a new paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, he concludes that movement through dark matter may perturb the orbits of comets and lead to additional heating in the Earth's core, both of which could be connected with mass extinction events.
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A team of astronomers from National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), Osaka Kyoiku University, Nagoya University, and Kyoto Sangyo University observed Nova Delphini 2013 (Figure 1, 3) which occurred on August 14, 2013. Using the 8.2-meter Subaru Telescope High Dispersion Spectrograph (HDS) to observe this object, they discovered that the outburst is producing a large amount of lithium (Li; Note 1). Lithium is a key element in the study of the chemical evolution of the universe because it likely was and is produced in several ways: through Big Bang nucleosynthesis, in collisions between energetic cosmic rays and the interstellar medium, inside stellar interiors, and as a result of novae and supernova explosions. This new observation provides the first direct evidence for the supply of Li from stellar objects to the galactic medium. The team hopes to deepen the understandings of galactic chemical evolution, given that nova explosions must be important suppliers of Li in the current universe.
Press Release. Classical Nova Explosions are Major Lithium Factories in the Universe. February 18, 2015. A team of astronomers from National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), Osaka Kyoiku University, Nagoya University, and Kyoto Sangyo University observed Nova Delphini 2013 (Figure 1, ...
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Snapdragon seed pods that look like skulls! 
 via http://imgur.com/bsGzWUI
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A research team led by Shuro Takano at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and Taku Nakajima at Nagoya University observed the spiral galaxy M77, also known as NGC1068, with the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) and discovered that organic molecules are concentrated in a region surrounding a supermassive black hole at its centre. Although these molecules around a black hole are thought to be dissociated by strong X-rays and UV photons, the research results indicate that some regions are shielded from X-rays and UV photons due to a large amount of dust and gas. These results, which were made possible by the high sensitivity and wideband observing capability of ALMA, will be a key to understanding the mysterious environment around supermassive black holes.
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Most of the laws of nature treat particles and antiparticles equally, but stars and planets are made of particles, or matter, and not antiparticles, or antimatter. That asymmetry, which favours matter to a very small degree, has puzzled scientists for many years.

New research by UCLA physicists, published in the journal Physical Review Letters, offers a possible solution to the mystery of the origin of matter in the universe.

Alexander Kusenko, a professor of physics and astronomy in the UCLA College, and colleagues propose that the matter-antimatter asymmetry could be related to the Higgs boson particle, which was the subject of prominent news coverage when it was discovered at Switzerland’s Large Hadron Collider in 2012.
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Hopefully in the next 24 months we will know more
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An unusual comet skimmed past the sun on Feb 18-21, 2015, as captured by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO.

This comet was interesting for two reasons. First it's what's called a non-group comet, meaning it's not part of any known family of comets. Most comets seen by SOHO belong to the Kreutz family – all of which broke off from a single giant comet many centuries ago.

The second reason it's interesting is because the vast majority of comets that come close enough to the sun to be seen by SOHO do not survive the trip. Known as sungrazers, these comets usually evaporate in the intense sunlight. This comet made it to within 2.2 million miles of the sun's surface – but survived the trip intact.
An unusual comet skirted past the sun Feb 18-21, 2015, as captured by ESA and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO. The comet is a non-group comet, meaning it's not part of any known family of comets.
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It is a caterpillar
 
The snake caterpillar, looks dangerous but isn't. Batesian mimicry in all its awesomeness! Photo by Daniel Janzen
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Have him in circles
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