University of Sydney astronomers, working with international colleagues, have found a star system like none seen before in our galaxy.

 

The scientists believe one of the stars—about 8000 light years from Earth—is the first known candidate in the Milky Way to produce a dangerous gamma-ray burst, among the most energetic events in the universe, when it explodes and dies. The system, comprising a pair of scorchingly luminous stars, was nicknamed Apep by the team after the serpentine Egyptian god of chaos. One star is on the brink of a massive supernova explosion.

 

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In an attempt to create a "Noah’s ark" or a "back-up" for the Earth, non-profit organization The Arch Mission sent a lunar library — a stack of DVD-sized disks that acts as an archive of 30 million pages of information about the planet — to the moon. Along with the library, Arch Mission sent human DNA samples and a payload of tardigrades, which had been dehydrated, into space.
 
"We chose them because they are special. They are the toughest form of life we know of. They can survive practically any planetary cataclysm. They can survive in the vacuum of space, they can survive radiation," Nova Spivack, co-founder of the Arch Mission Foundation, said. Tardigrades have eight legs with claws at the end, a brain and central nervous system, and a sucker-like pharynx behind their mouth, which can pierce food.
 
 

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Until now, the understanding of the galaxy’s shape had been based upon indirect measurements of celestial landmarks within it and inferences from structures observed in other galaxies.

 

The Milky Way is not flat, as previously thought, but warped and twisted in shape, according to the most detailed map ever constructed.   Astronomers at the University of Warsaw used a telescope in the Chilean Andes to measure the distances between the sun and 2,400 stars to build a three-dimensional picture of the galaxy we live in.  In doing so, they showed it is in fact a disk, with four major spiral arms and a pole-like core running through the middle.

 

 

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Insights from quantum physics have allowed engineers to incorporate components used in circuit boards, optical fibers, and control systems in new applications ranging from smartphones to advanced microprocessors. But, even with significant progress made in recent years, researchers are still looking for new and better ways to control the uniquely powerful electronic properties of quantum materials.

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NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, has discovered three new worlds that are among the smallest, nearest exoplanets known to date. The planets orbit a star just 73 light years away and include a small, rocky super-Earth and two sub-Neptunes — planets about half the size of our own icy giant.

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