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UWM Leads Search for Quintessential Information About Universe

A new center will advance the hunt for elusive gravitational waves in space using a unique method – monitoring changes in the arrival times of radio signals from pulsars, the universe’s most stable natural clocks.

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Race to Detect Gravitational Waves Advances with New NSF-funded NANOGrav Physics Frontiers Center

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) $14.5 million over 5 years to create and operate a Physics Frontiers Center (PFC).

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Earthlike 'Star Wars' Tatooines May Be Common

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Luke Skywalker’s home in “Star Wars” is the desert planet Tatooine, with twin sunsets because it orbits two stars. So far, only uninhabitable gas-giant planets have been identified circling such binary stars, and many researchers believe rocky planets cannot form there. Now, mathematical simulations show that Earthlike, solid planets such as Tatooine likely exist and may be widespread.

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NASA's Hubble and Chandra Discover Dark Matter Is Not as Sticky as Once Thought

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Astronomers using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory have found that dark matter interacts with itself even less than previously thought. This finding narrows down the options for what this mysterious substance might be. The finding will appear in the journal Science on March 27. Join Hubble astronomers during the live Hubble Hangout at 3pm on Thurs., March 26, to learn even more about this study. Visit http://hbbl.us/98X .

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Looking to Space to Quantify Natural Gas Leaks on Earth

Increasing natural gas production could provide a bridge to a lower carbon future. However, methane that is leaked into the atmosphere from this process could speed global warming and climate change. And there is controversy over just how much methane is lost. Researchers today will present new methods to determine methane’s leakage rate and problems inherent in discovering and assessing leakage at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

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Experiment Provides the Best Look Yet at 'Warm Dense Matter' at Cores of Giant Planets

In an experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists precisely measured the temperature and structure of aluminum as it transitions into a superhot, highly compressed concoction known as “warm dense matter.”

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South Pole Telescope Expands Cosmic Search

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The 10-meter SPT, which maps the cosmic microwave background, is the largest telescope ever to make its way to the South Pole. A major upgrade will help scientists to determine the masses of neutrinos and further study cosmic inflation.

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MESSENGER’s Endgame: Hover Campaign Promises Bird’s-Eye View of Mercury’s Surface

MESSENGER will not go gentle into that good night. The mission will end sometime this spring, when the spacecraft runs out of propellant and the force of solar gravity causes it to impact the surface of Mercury. But the team initiated a “hover” observation campaign designed to gather scientific data from the planet at ultra-low altitudes until the last possible moment. Engineers have devised a series of orbit-correction maneuvers (OCMs) over the next five weeks — the first of which was carried out today — designed to delay the inevitable impact a bit longer

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Iron Rain Fell on Early Earth, New Z Machine Data Supports

Experiments at Z at pressures equalling when worlds collide show that iron vaporizes at far lower pressures than its theoretical value , explaining for the first time iron's widespread distribution in Earth's mantle.

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Scientists Discuss New Results from MESSENGER’s Low-Altitude Campaign

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NASA’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission, now nearing the end of its fourth and final year of orbital operations at Mercury, is well into a low-altitude campaign that is returning images and measurements of the planet’s surface and interior that are unprecedented in their resolution. MESSENGER scientists will discuss new findings from the low-altitude campaign and their implications for Mercury's geological evolution and the planet's geophysical and geochemical characteristics at a press briefing today at the 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Presentation materials and presenter biographies are available online at http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/presscon13.html.