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SMA Reveals Giant Star Cluster in the Making

W49A might be one of the best-kept secrets in our galaxy. This star-forming region shines 100 times brighter than the Orion nebula, but is...

Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer Team Publishes First Findings

Until the launch of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) experiment in 2011, scientists had compiled a mere anthill of information about the kinds of...

Simulations offer insights on how spiral galaxies get their arms

Spiral galaxies are some of the most beautiful and photogenic residents of the universe. Our own Milky Way is a spiral. Our solar system and...

Jupiter-like planets formed in hundreds, not millions of years

An accepted assumption in astrophysics holds that it takes more than 1 million years for gas giant planets such as Jupiter and Saturn to form from the cosmic debris circling a young star. But new research suggests such planets form in a dramatically shorter period, as little as a few hundred years. The forming planets have to be able to survive the effects of nearby stars burning brightly, heating and dispersing the gases that accumulate around the giant planets. If the process takes too long, the gases will be dissipated by the radiation from those stars, said University of Washington astrophysicist Thomas R. Quinn.

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