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The Saturnian Sisters – Cassini Views Tethys and Rhea

This newly released image from the Cassini Spacecraft shows Saturn’s moons Tethys and Rhea. Similar in many ways, Saturn’s moons Tethys and Rhea (left and right, respectively) even share a discoverer: Giovanni Cassini, namesake of the NASA spacecraft that captured this view. The moons are named for sisters — two Titans of Greek mythology. Although somewhat different in size, Rhea ... Read More »

Dying Star Kohoutek 4-55 Offers a Glimpse of Our Sun’s Future

This Hubble image reveals the final act of celestial beauty before the long fade into cosmic history. Invisibly buried in the center of this colorful swirl of gas is a dying star, roughly the same mass as the Sun. As a star ages, the nuclear reactions that keep it shining begin to falter. This uncertain energy generation causes the stars ... Read More »

Scientists Reveal Amino Acids Supply Most Building Blocks for Tumor Cells

New research shows that amino acids, not glucose, account for the majority of cell mass in proliferating mammalian cells. Cancer cells are notorious for their ability to divide uncontrollably and generate hordes of new tumor cells. Most of the fuel consumed by these rapidly proliferating cells is glucose, a type of sugar. Scientists had believed that most of the cell ... Read More »

Yale Study Shows Gut Bacteria Aggressively Protect Their Territory

A newly published study from Yale University details how human gut bacteria take on many tasks crucial to health. Bacterially speaking, it gets very crowded in the human gut, with trillions of cells jostling for a position to carry out a host of specialized and often crucial tasks. A new Yale study, published the week of March 7 in the ... Read More »

Hubble Image of the Week – Swimming in Sculptor

This newly released Hubble image shows thousands of colorful galaxies. Peering deep into the early Universe, this picturesque parallel field observation from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveals thousands of colorful galaxies swimming in the inky blackness of space. A few foreground stars from our own galaxy, the Milky Way, are also visible. In October 2013 Hubble’s Wide Field Camera ... Read More »

ScienceCasts Video: Close Encounters with Jupiter

This new four minute ScienceCasts video details the coming close encounter between Earth and Jupiter. On March 8th, 2016 Earth and Jupiter will have a close encounter. The giant planet will be “up all night,” soaring almost overhead at midnight and not setting until the sky brightens with the twilight hues of sunrise on March 9th. In July, the Juno ... Read More »

The Realm of Buried Giants – Star Formation Region RCW 106

This new ESO VLT Survey Telescope image shows the vast nebula where giant stars were born, known as RCW 106. The brightest part appears just above the center of the image. In this huge new image clouds of crimson gas are illuminated by rare, massive stars that have only recently ignited and are still buried deep in thick dust clouds. ... Read More »

Neuroscientists Discover a Behavioral State Gene That May be Linked to Autism

In a newly published study, neuroscientists from MIT reeval a gene that plays a critical role in controlling the switch between alternative behavioral states – which for humans include hunger and fullness, or sleep and wakefulness. This gene, which the researchers dubbed vps-50, helps to regulate neuropeptides — tiny proteins that carry messages between neurons or from neurons to other ... Read More »

Astronomers Measure the Farthest Galaxy Ever Seen in the Universe

Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have shattered the cosmic distance record by measuring the farthest galaxy ever seen in the universe. This surprisingly bright infant galaxy, named GN-z11, is seen as it was 13.4 billion years in the past, just 400 million years after the Big Bang. GN-z11 is located in the direction of the constellation of Ursa Major. ... Read More »

Astronomers Detect Repeat ‘Fast Radio Bursts’ for the First Time

The 305-m Arecibo telescope and its suspended support platform of radio receivers is shown amid a starry night. From space, a sequence of millisecond-duration radio flashes are racing towards the dish, where they will be reflected and detected by the radio receivers. Such radio signals are called fast radio bursts, and Arecibo is the first telescope to see repeat bursts ... Read More »