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What’s in a Heartbeat?

Instead of happily orbiting in circles with constant velocity, the two stars spend most of their time far apart, and a few harrowing hours racing past each other. Or, to put it another way: hours and hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. This is a heartbeat star.

Cosmic rays on the sky – where do they come from?

Cosmic rays hit the Earth and produce showers of particles that can be detected on the ground. Understanding where these cosmic rays come from can help scientists pin down their sources and construct models for the magnetic field in our neighborhood.

Mature Galaxies in an Immature Universe

The authors use a deep survey to locate rare galaxies which were among the earliest to form.

Herschel’s View of a Neighboring Planetary System

Herschel provides an updated look at the debris disk in the popular planetary system, Tau Ceti.

A white dwarf eating a debris disk

This white dwarf is surrounded by a debris disk. What formed the disk, and what’s destroying it now?

Migrating Super-Earths vs. Terrestrial Planets

Of all the kinds of planets we’re finding around other stars—hot Jupiters and mini-Neptunes and those dubiously called “Earth-like”—super-Earths orbiting close to their stars are among the most abundant. While planets so close to their stars are poor candidates for habitability, they are important to understanding the possibility of other habitable planets in these seemingly common systems.

Peeling apart a neutron star

Neutron stars can provide insights into extreme and exotic states of matter.

The History of the Galactic Halo

The number and luminosity distribution of white dwarfs stars can be used to help figure out the past history of the Galactic halo.

How to destroy a debris disk

Planet-planet scattering can either be a good thing or a bad thing for the planetesimals caught in the crossfire. Like many things in life, the key is moderation. The authors of this paper try to figure out how many exoplanet systems with eccentric planets are likely to still have their debris disks after experiencing a planet-planet scattering event.

Most 1.6 Earth-radius planets are not rocky

Artist’s impressions of exoplanets are often wrong!

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