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Posts Tagged "interstellar medium"

Basic Space

Voyager is in a new region of space, and now that place has a name

"Now, voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find"

Say hello to a brand new bit of the solar system, brought to you by that intrepid traveller Voyager 1: the heliosheath depletion region. Ok, the name’s not particularly catchy, but this is exciting news! Voyager launched over 35 years ago, but it was just before that anniversary last year that it entered this new, [...]

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Basic Space

Light from starburst galaxies makes the best cosmic disinfectant

NGC 5253, the dwarf starburst galaxy studied by Jordan Zastrow and her colleagues. Credit: {link url="http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso0434/"}ESO{/link)

If you’re reading this at night, look outside. Even in a city you’ll be able to see a few stars, if it’s not too cloudy and your eyes are up to it. If you’re lucky, the view from your window or garden will include a whole host of stars. Either way, you will be looking [...]

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Basic Space

An impossible star?

In the beginning, the only elements that existed were hydrogen, helium and very small amounts of lithium. All of the other elements in the period table came later and, rather than forming out of the primordial soup of sub-atomic particles that existed shortly after the big bang, the elements from lithium up to and including [...]

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Basic Space

For a realistic Milky Way simulation, just add clustered star formation

Judging by its starlight and gas content (as seen in the image above), Eris looks to be a near match for our own Milky Way galaxy — except that it exists only as a simulation inside a supercomputer. Until recently, realistic simulations of the Milky Way were not forthcoming. Now astrophysicists at The University of [...]

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Basic Space

Oxygen might be hiding behind grains of cosmic dust

We often think of outer space, the bit between stars, as a complete vacuum. The reality is that, while it is a better vacuum than any we can create on Earth, it is far from empty. The interstellar medium (ISM) fills the space between stars in a galaxy. Almost all of the ISM is hydrogen [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Voyager Has Entered The Interstellar Medium

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                After many claims and statements over the past few years that Voyager 1, our most distant operating spacecraft, has ‘left the solar system’ (it hasn’t, as I explain here), it does now seem that as of August 2012 this extraordinary vehicle has entered the interstellar medium. This [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Voyager’s Exit To The Stars…In 17,000 Years

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Recent debates over whether or not the Voyager 1 spacecraft has ‘left the solar system’ typically leave out some critical details. The limits of the Sun’s particle radiation is not the physical edge of the contents of the solar system, but it is the point of changeover to the exceedingly tenuous atmosphere of matter and [...]

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