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Latest and Breaking Space Science News

An explosive quartet
(ESA/Hubble Information Centre) Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have, for the first time, spotted four images of a distant exploding star. The images are arranged in a cross-shaped pattern by the powerful gravity of a foreground galaxy embedded in a massive cluster of galaxies. The supernova discovery paper will appear on March 6, 2015 in a special issue of Science celebrating the centenary of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity.

Space technology investigates large-scale changes to Africa's climate
(University of Leicester) University of Leicester researchers map climate and human impacts on Africa's land resources using satellite mapping technology.

Astronomers see star explode 4 times
(Australian National University) Astronomers have glimpsed a far off and ancient star exploding, not once, but four times. The supernova was directly behind a cluster of huge galaxies, whose mass is so great that they warp space-time, forming a cosmic magnifying glass.

Scientists report breakthrough in detecting methane
(University of Toronto) Deciphering the many pathways by which methane is produced is one of the holy grails of organic geochemistry. A paper being published tomorrow in Science Express reports a breakthrough in methane identification. The new approach adds Tunable Infrared Laser Direct Adsorption Spectroscopy to the set of instruments that can help identify the temperature at which methane is formed and provide details on the environment in which methane-producing microbes thrive.

Astronomers observe 4 images of the same supernova using a cosmic lens
(University of Copenhagen - Niels Bohr Institute) Astronomers have for the first time observed a supernova (an exploding star) multiply-imaged due to gravitational lensing. The light from the supernova is seen in four different images due to a cosmic phenomenon that causes light to be deflected by the gravity of a massive galaxy. This effect creates four separate images of the same supernova. The discovery is published in the scientific magazine Science.

Distant supernova split 4 ways by gravitational lens
(University of California - Berkeley) Astronomers now use massive galaxies and clusters of galaxies as magnifying lenses to study the early universe, but until now had never observed the brief flash of a supernova. UC Berkeley postdoc Patrick Kelly found such a supernova in images taken last year by the Hubble Space Telescope. The exploding star, about 9.3 billion light years from Earth, was split into a rare 'Einstein Cross,' a four-part image predicted by the General Theory of Relativity.

Galactic 'rain' could be key to star formation
(Michigan State University) Some of the galaxies in our universe are veritable star nurseries. For example, our own Milky Way produces, on average, at least one new star every year. Others went barren years ago, now producing few if any new stars. Why that happens is a question that has dogged astronomers for years. But now, more than 20 years of research by a team led by Michigan State University has culminated in what might be the answer to that elusive question.

Why isn't the universe as bright as it should be?
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology) This study explains why galaxies don't churn out as many stars as they should.

NREL takes first in-depth look at solar project completion timelines
(DOE/National Renewable Energy Laboratory) The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has gathered and analyzed data for more than 30,000 solar photovoltaic installations across the United States to better understand how interconnection regulations align with actual project completion timelines. The findings indicate that interconnection process delays are common, and can range from several days to months. Streamlining the application review and final authorization processes can ultimately benefit utilities and solar consumers by reducing the time and cost associated with going solar.

NREL reports examine economic trade-offs of owning vs. leasing a solar photovoltaic system
(DOE/National Renewable Energy Laboratory) Two new reports from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory examine the economic options customers face when deciding how to finance commercial or residential solar energy systems. NREL analysts found that businesses that use low-cost financing to purchase a photovoltaic (PV) system and homeowners who use solar-specific loans can save up to 30 percent compared with consumers who lease a PV system through a conventional third-party owner.

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