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Introducing Chariklo, the first asteroid-like object discovered with rings.

This is the first time any object besides a Solar System gas giant—Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune—has been found to have rings. Chariklo is technically a centaur, one of many centaurs that orbit between Jupiter and Neptune and have both asteroid-like and comet-like properties, which makes them a bit of a mystery. Asteroids and comets are distinguished by where they were formed and what they are made of; Chariklo, the largest of the centaurs, happens to be is more asteroid-like.

More details at http://www.popsci.com/article/technology/first-asteroid-object-discovered-rings.

A wormhole? A GIANT spaceship? An intergalactic disco? None, actually.

This is, believe it or not, a real photo taken by the Chandra x-ray observatory. The central object is a quasar, RX J1131-1231 (RX J1131 for short), located about 6 billion light years from Earth.

According to Chandra, "Gravitational lensing by an intervening elliptical galaxy has created four different images of the quasar, shown by the Chandra data in pink.”

It’s certainly one of the clearest images of this effect we’ve seen in a while, and one of the sparkliest!

More info at http://chandra.si.edu/photo/2014/rxj1131/

jtotheizzoe:

Sky Tapestry, by Cordella Lackey

A tapestry jewelled hangs over the night;
Have you looked up to see where it gleams?
There are rubies and sapphires and diamonds white
Interwoven with mists of lost dreams.

This tapestry ancient was hung up for you
Before Time tried to reckon with Space;
And for ages to come it will hang in the blue,
Starry jewels each one in its place.

Each star has a story, each mist is alight;
If you seek to know each priceless fold
You will treasure this tapestry hung up at night
By the Weaver of tapestries old.

Kepler has opened up a new universe. Only about 20 years ago, we didn’t know if there were any other planets around any other stars besides our own, now we know we live in a galaxy that contains more planets than stars. Every star in our galaxy has on average 1.6 planets in orbit around it.”

Walking On The Moon: X-Ray of Astronaut’s Spacesuit

An x-ray of the suit that Alan B. Shepard wore on the moon during the 1971 Apollo 14 mission.

An amazing amount of detail shown - look at all the tech and layers involved! Of course, we’re sure modern suits might look quite a bit different :)

Astronomers Get First Glimpse of Cosmic Web

Astronomers have for the first time captured a glimpse of the vast, web-like network of diffuse gas that links all of the galaxies in the cosmos.

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Top image: Computer simulations suggest that matter in the universe is distributed in a “cosmic web” of filaments, as seen in the image above from a large-scale dark-matter simulation. The inset is a zoomed-in, high-resolution image of a smaller part of the cosmic web, 10 million light-years across, from a simulation that includes gas as well as dark matter. The intense radiation from a quasar can, like a flashlight, illuminate part of the surrounding cosmic web (highlighted in the image) and make a filament of gas glow, as was observed in the case of quasar UM287. Credit: Anatoly Klypin and Joel Primack, S. Cantalupo

Bottom image: This deep image shows the Nebula (cyan) with a size of 2 million light-years discovered around the quasar UM287 (at center) . The energetic radiation of the quasar makes the surrounding intergalactic gas glow revealing the morphology and physical properties of a “Cosmic Web” filament. Credit: S. Cantalupo

Astronomers may have detected a truly giant black hole…

This and other evidence suggest the black hole could be “ultramassive,” instead of merely supermassive, and have a mass more than 10 billion times that of the sun. It could also be extremely massive and spinning slowly.

From http://www.popsci.com/article/technology/big-pic-ultramassive-black-hole?src=SOC&dom=gp.

According to Stephen Hawking’s* latest paper, ‘there are no black holes’. 

Read more in this great piece in Nature.

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*The physicist who has proposed the existence of Hawking radiation, a type of radiation which can result in the evaporation of black holes over time

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The paper, published in arXiv, still needs peer review. If you want to review it, you can do so over at publons.com/p/3935/

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Image: Black Hole in the universe. NASA.https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Black_Hole_in_the_universe.jpg

Absolutely stunning - artists’ conceptions of a countdown to launch.

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