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Interstellar: A SciFi Film with Plenty of “Ifs”

During a live Google Hangout, three astrophysicists separated science from science fiction in the blockbuster film Interstellar, revealing a story steeped in real scientific knowledge but not afraid to delve into the unknown.

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The Dust Devil and the Details: Spinning Up a Storm on Mars

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Spinning up a dust devil in the thin air of Mars requires a stronger updraft than is needed to create a similar vortex on Earth, according to research at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Early results from this research in UAH’s Atmospheric Science Department are scheduled for presentation today at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in San Francisco. “To start a dust devil on Mars you need convection, a strong updraft,” said Bryce Williams, an atmospheric science graduate student at UAH. “We looked at the ratio between convection and surface turbulence to find the sweet spot where there is enough updraft to overcome the low level wind and turbulence. And on Mars, where we think the process that creates a vortex is more easily disrupted by frictional dissipation – turbulence and wind at the surface – you need twice as much convective updraft as you do on Earth.” Williams and UAH’s Dr. Udaysankar Nair looked for the dust devil sweet spot by combining dat

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'Perfect Storm' Quenching Star Formation around a Supermassive Black Hole

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Astronomers using ALMA have discovered that modest black holes can shut down star formation by producing turbulence.

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Is an Understanding of Dark Matter Around the Corner? Experimentalists Unsure

Scientists working on the three newest dark matter experiments are hopeful that we’ll soon understand a quarter of the universe – but they’re making no promises.

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Swarms of Pluto-Size Objects Kick-Up Dust around Adolescent Sun-Like Star

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Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) may have detected the dusty hallmarks of an entire family of Pluto-size objects swarming around an adolescent version of our own Sun.

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Rosetta Results Crucial to Understand Early Solar System

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New Research Offers Explanation for Titan Sand Dune Mystery

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A team of researchers has now shown that winds on Titan must blow 50 percent faster than previously thought in order to move that sand.

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University of Tennessee Research Offers Explanation for Titan Dune Puzzle

Research led by Devon Burr, an associate professor in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department at UT, shows that winds on Titan must blow faster than previously thought to move sand. The discovery may explain how the dunes were formed.

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Physicist Presents New Observational Solar Weather Model

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Scientists now have an observational framework to help predict solar weather, says physicist Dr. S.T. Wu, distinguished professor emeritus of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

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Missouri S&T Students, Recent Graduate Lead a Mars Landing Team

Two Missouri University of Science and Technology students and one recent graduate are part of a team that has been selected as a finalist to design part of a Mars landing mission in 2018.

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