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Links 1 through 10 of 3121 Marcus Ting-A-Kee's Bookmarks

It's well known that the Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, a swirl of stars in an extended, many-armed disk. But the structure of the galaxy is far from two-dimensional. Above and below those familiar spiral arms is a lesser-known feature, a spherical swarm of stars that makes up a halo around the disk

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The discovery of a small but distant galaxy 12.8 billion light years from Earth in 2011 provided important clues about the earliest years of the universe's life. By measuring the age of the galaxy's stars using gravitational lensing, astronomers in Europe and the US found that the galaxy began to shine when the universe was just 150–300 million years old, which hints that these galaxies were responsible for dispersing the atomic fog that shrouded the early cosmos, during a period in the history of the universe that astronomers refer to as the "dark age."

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THE head of the science programme at the Dark Energy Survey on the rapidly expanding universe and the future of dark-energy research

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Scientists have measured the fastest winds yet observed from a stellar-mass black hole, shedding light on the behavior of these curious cosmic objects.
The winds, clocked by astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, are racing through space at 20 million mph (32 million kph), or about 3 percent the speed of light. That's nearly 10 times faster than had ever been seen from a stellar-mass black hole, researchers said.

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Today's universe may not be as rip-roaring as the primordial cosmos, but remains an action-packed place

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It's hard to keep oxygen molecules around, despite the fact that it's the third-most abundant element in the universe, forged in the superhot, superdense core of stars. That's because oxygen wants to react; it can form compounds with nearly every other element on the periodic table. So how did Earth end up with an atmosphere made up of roughly 21 percent of the stuff?

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Earth is the planet of the plants—and it all can be traced back to one green cell. The world's lush profusion of photosynthesizers—from towering redwoods to ubiquitous diatoms—owe their existence to a tiny alga eons ago that swallowed a cyanobacteria and turned it into an internal solar power plant.

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Quantum entanglement is an effect through which multiple particles share correlated properties—across arbitrarily large distances—that snap into place instantaneously. For instance, a pair of entangled photons in different locations might be joined by their polarizations, a property that describes the orientation of a light wave’s oscillation. Measure one photon’s polarization, and the polarization of the other instantly assumes the same value. In other words, the photons are either both horizontally polarized or both vertically polarized, but neither assumes a definite value until one or the other is measured.

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The thought of shuffling off our mortal coil can make all of us a little squeamish. But avoiding the idea of death entirely means ignoring the role it can play in determining our actions

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