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Articles on Stars

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A new particle accelerator at Michigan State University is set to discover thousands of never-before-seen isotopes. Facility for Rare Isotope Beams

Powerful linear accelerator begins smashing atoms – 2 scientists on the team explain how it could reveal rare forms of matter

A new particle accelerator has just begun operation. It is the most powerful accelerator of its kind on Earth and will allow physicists to study some of the rarest matter in the universe.
Astronomers think the most likely place to find life in the galaxy is on super-Earths, like Kepler-69c, seen in this artist’s rendering. NASA Ames/JPL-CalTech

Super-Earths are bigger, more common and more habitable than Earth itself – and astronomers are discovering more of the billions they think are out there

Newly discovered super-Earths add to the list of planets around other stars that offer the best chance of finding life. An astronomer explains what makes these super-Earths such excellent candidates.
Spiral galaxies like M100, pictured here, may hold answers about the nature of dark matter. NASA Spitzer Space Telescope/NASA/JPL-Caltech

We don’t know if dark matter exists. So why do astronomers keep looking?

A comparison of star-forming galaxies suggests, surprisingly, that dark matter and visible matter do interact – taking us closer to understanding what keeps the galaxies together.
VFTS 243 is a binary system of a large, hot blue star and a black hole orbiting each other, as seen in this animation. ESO/L.Calçada

Astronomers have found an especially sneaky black hole – discovery sheds light on star death, black hole formation and gravitational waves

Astronomers have discovered the first dormant black hole outside of the Milky Way. These black holes are not absorbing matter from a nearby star, making them incredibly hard to find.
TRAPPIST-1e is a rocky exoplanet in the habitable zone of a star 40 light-years from Earth and may have water and clouds, as depicted in this artist’s impression. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Wikimedia Commons

To search for alien life, astronomers will look for clues in the atmospheres of distant planets – and the James Webb Space Telescope just proved it’s possible to do so

Life on Earth has dramatically changed the chemistry of the planet. Astronomers will measure light that bounces off distant planets to look for similar clues that they host life.
The mirror on the James Webb Space Telescope is fully aligned and producing incredibly sharp images, like this test image of a star. NASA/STScI via Flickr

The James Webb Space Telescope is finally ready to do science – and it’s seeing the universe more clearly than even its own engineers hoped for

It has taken eight months to test and calibrate all of the instruments and modes of the James Webb Space Telescope. A scientist on the team explains what it took to get Webb up and running.
Some stars travel at high speeds through the universe and sometimes leave spectacular clouds of dust and gas in their wake. NASA, ESA and R. Sahai (NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Real shooting stars exist, but they aren’t the streaks you see in a clear night sky

Hypervelocity stars were discovered only 15 years ago and are the closest things in existence to real shooting stars. They travel at millions of miles per hour, so fast that they can escape from galaxies.

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