Mars (2)Mars Rock Takes Unusual Form
Pasadena CA (JPL) Feb 14, 2013 – On Mars, as on Earth, sometimes things can take on an unusual appearance. A case in point is a shiny-looking rock seen in a recent image from NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. Some casual observers might see a resemblance to a car door handle, hood ornament or some other type of metallic object. To Ronald Sletten of the University of Washington, Seattle, a collaborator on Curiosity’ … more

Extremely bright supernovae may break the Chandrasekhar limit
London, UK (SPX) Feb 14, 2013 – White dwarfs forming in extreme magnetic fields could be stabilized, allowing them to get bigger before they explode, leading to a brighter bang when they finally do, according to a team of researchers in India. Type Ia supernovae, caused by exploding white dwarfs, are often used by astronomers as “standard candles” to calculate the distance to a point in space because they are extremely bright … more

Black Holes Growing Faster Than Expected
London, UK (SPX) Feb 14, 2013 – Lurking at the centers of most galaxies are black holes that can weigh anywhere from one million to one billion times as much as the Sun. New research, published in the Astrophysical Journal, shows that these black holes are growing at much larger rates than had previously been thought possible. Even the black hole in our own Milky Way Galaxy, which otherwise appears very quiet, has proba … more

Largest-ever study of mammalian ancestry completed by renowned research te
Pittsburgh PA (SPX) Feb 11, 2013 – A groundbreaking six-year research collaboration has produced the most complete picture yet of the evolution of placental mammals, the group that includes humans. Placental mammals are the largest branch of the mammalian family tree, with more than 5,100 living species. Researchers from Carnegie Museum of Natural History are among the team of 23 that took part in this extensive interdiscip … more