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Smallest Galaxies Solve a Big Problem
09/12/2007

Smallest Galaxies Solve a Big Problem

Kathy Svitil
An unusual population of the darkest, most lightweight galaxies known has shed new light on a cosmic conundrum. Astronomers used the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii to show that the recently uncovered dwarf galaxies each contain 99 percent of a mysterious type of matter known as dark matter. Dark matter has gravitational effects on ordinary atoms but does not produce any light. It accounts for the majority of the mass in the universe.
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Caltech Astronomers Obtain Sharpest-Ever Pictures of the Heavens
09/04/2007

Caltech Astronomers Obtain Sharpest-Ever Pictures of the Heavens

Scott Kardel
Astronomers from the California Institute of Technology and the University of Cambridge have developed a new camera that produces much more detailed pictures of stars and nebulae than even the Hubble Space Telescope, and it does all this from here on Earth.
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Palomar Observatory's Sky Survey is the Cosmic Canvas in the New Google Sky
08/22/2007

Palomar Observatory's Sky Survey is the Cosmic Canvas in the New Google Sky

Jill Perry
Panoramic images of the sky obtained at Palomar Observatory are a major part of "Sky in Google Earth," a new product released today by Google Inc. Sky in Google Earth contains images of the entire celestial sphere, showing hundreds of millions of stars, galaxies, and other cosmic wonders. Also today, scientists at the California Institute of Technology are releasing a related application showing in real time the locations of cosmic explosions and flares in this new vista of the universe.
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Thirty-Meter Telescope Project Receives $15 Million from Moore Foundation
08/20/2007

Thirty-Meter Telescope Project Receives $15 Million from Moore Foundation

Robert Tindol
The California Institute of Technology and the Regents of the University of California have each received $7.5 million in additional funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for the development of the Thirty-Meter Telescope. The TMT is being developed by a U.S.-Canadian team with construction anticipated to begin in April 2009. The new grants augment the $64 million already planned for the design development phase of the TMT project, which included $35 million previously awarded to Caltech and UC by the Moore Foundation.
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Astronomers Find Largest Exoplanet to Date
08/06/2007

Astronomers Find Largest Exoplanet to Date

Robert Tindol
An international team of astronomers has discovered the largest-radius and lowest-density exoplanet of all those whose mass and radius are known. It is a gas-giant planet about twice the size of Jupiter, and is likely to have a curved cometlike tail. It has been named TrES-4, to indicate that it is the fourth planet detected by the Trans-atlantic Exoplanet Survey (TrES) network of telescopes.
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International Consortium Is Created to Build World's Largest Submillimeter Telescope
07/25/2007

International Consortium Is Created to Build World's Largest Submillimeter Telescope

Robert Tindol
Five institutions from North America and Europe have created a consortium to oversee the building of a 25-meter submillimeter telescope on a high elevation in Chile. When completed in 2013, the $100 million instrument will be the premier telescope of its kind in the world.
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Caltech, JPL, Northrop Grumman to Celebrate 50 Years of Space Exploration
07/13/2007

Caltech, JPL, Northrop Grumman to Celebrate 50 Years of Space Exploration

Jill Perry
Before October 1957, space flight was a thing of fantasy. Today we are experienced space explorers with unlimited voyages to undertake. Where is space flight's next horizon? What constitutes sensible space investment? How did the space pioneers accomplish their goals? These topics will be addressed at "50 Years in Space: An International Aerospace Conference Celebrating 50 Years of Space Technology," which will take place from September 19 to 21 at the California Institute of Technology.
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Dwarf Star Gulps Giant to Form Supernova
07/13/2007

Dwarf Star Gulps Giant to Form Supernova

Robert Tindol
A team of European and American astronomers has announced the discovery of the best evidence yet for the nature of the star systems that explode as type Ia supernovae. The team obtained a unique set of observations with the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope and the Keck I 10-meter telescope in Hawaii.
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NASA'S Spitzer Finds Water Vapor on Hot, Alien Planet
07/11/2007

NASA'S Spitzer Finds Water Vapor on Hot, Alien Planet

Robert Tindol
The exoplanet HD 189733b has just been found to have water vapor in its atmosphere. The observation provides the best evidence to date that water exists on worlds outside our own solar system.
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Astronomers Claim to Find the Most Distant Known Galaxies
07/10/2007

Astronomers Claim to Find the Most Distant Known Galaxies

Jill Perry
Using natural "gravitational lenses," an international team of astronomers claim to have found the first traces of a population of the most distant galaxies yet seen-the light we see from them today left more than 13 billion years ago, when the universe was just 500 million years old.
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