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The astro-ph Reader’s Digest

The Cosmic Microwave Oven Background

Over the past couple of decades the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia has been picking up two types of mysterious signals, each lasting just a few milliseconds. One kind, the Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), have come from seemingly random points in the sky at unpredictable times, and are thought to have a (thus far unknown) astronomical origin. The other signal, known as perytons, have been found by this paper to have an origin much close to home.

Discovering the mysterious companions of Cepheids

Cepheids are bright enough that we can use them to measure distances to other galaxies, but their luminosities also makes detecting their companions particularly difficult. So how do astronomers find their uncover their secret partners? Today’s paper takes a look…

Was Our Moon’s Formation Likely or Lucky?

4.5 billion years ago, a Mars-sized body was believed to have impacted a young Earth, and this planetesimal’s obliterated remains coalesced into what is now our Moon. However, certain striking similarities between the Earth and Moon question the likelihood of this event. Two recent papers investigated the giant impact scenario, only to come to opposite conclusions. Read on to hear more about this lunar enigma.

Beyond astro-ph

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The Age of Solar System Exploration

The years of 2014 and 2015 may well be known as the time when our exploration of the solar system truly took off, as we explored asteroids, comets, and minor planets. Here’s a look back at what we’ve accomplished in the last year, and what we’re about to achieve in the year to come.

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