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December 12, 2013: Though it’s five times farther from the Sun than Earth, and therefore so cold that ice becomes as hard as rock, Jupiter’s moon Europa may be the first place to go to look for extraterrestrial life. Ever since the moon, which superficially resembles a cracked eggshell, was photographed close-up by the Voyager space probe, scientists have been intrigued by its potential as a niche for life.

For over the past 30 years it has been hypothesized that the icy crust covers a subsurface ocean. Where there is water there could be life. Now NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has found something the Jovian probes may have missed, plumes of water vapor leaking off into space near the moon’s south pole. Astronomers do not know yet if these gas plumes are connected to subsurface liquid water or not. This venting doesn’t seem unique. In 2005, NASA’s Cassini orbiter discovered similar water vapor plumes spewing off of the tiny moon Enceladus, 1 billion miles away.

http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2013/55/

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Scientists have discovered the most distant and ancient galaxy ever spotted.

By using data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope and observations from the Keck I telescope at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, astronomers have now confirmed that the galaxy designated z8_GND_5296 formed within 700 million years after the beginning of the universe, making it the oldest and most distant galaxy ever verified.

Because the galaxy is so far from Earth, scientists were able to observe z8_GND_5296 as it would have appeared about 13.1 billion years ago.

 

Exoplanets

Periodic table of exoplanets. Astronomers found 10 warm superTerran worlds, but not yet an Earth-like planet. (c) PHL

https://www.facebook.com/SETIInstitute?hc_location=stream

C2011-L4-PANSTARRS_600Lawrence

Go here http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html to find out more.

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Read more here! http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130430.html

Video of Earth from ISS.

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The Whirlpool Galaxy (also known as Messier 51a, M51a, or NGC 5194) is an interacting spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici. The Whirlpool Galaxy is also a popular target for professional astronomers, who study it to further understand galaxy structure (particularly structure associated with the spiral arms) and galaxy interactions.

M106

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Messier 106 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781. M106 and is about 22 to 25 million light-years away from Earth.

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NGC 4565 (also known as the Needle Galaxy) is an edge-on spiral galaxy about 30 to 50 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices.

First spotted in 1785 by Sir William Herschel (1738–1822), this is one of the most famous examples of an edge-on spiral galaxy.

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I found this interesting.

http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=114090&org=NSF