SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY
Gamma-Ray Image Reveals 'Some Things We Didn't Expect to See'
Last week astronomers released the most detailed gamma-ray map of the sky--representing the Universe's most violent and extreme processes. The Fermi space telescope's newest results, as well as the map, were described at the Third Fermi Symposium in Rome.
At the same meeting astronomers expressed bewilderment over an unprecedented blast of gamma rays, the highest-energy light in the Universe, coming from the Crab Nebula. They said the cause of the April 12 gamma-ray flare is a mystery.
Scientists have also been surprised by solar wind data collected by the Genesis Mission. The data show discrepancies between the composition of the sun and the inner solar system, which contains the sun's four closest planets, including Earth.
Finally, a new study bolsters the notion that the thick, nitrogen-rich atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, was literally blasted into existence billions of years ago by comets or other objects pounding its icy surface.
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PODCASTS: Expanding With the Cosmos
Using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ATC), a 6.5-meter microwave collector in Chile, cosmologists are piecing together the early history of the known universe. In an exclusive American Scientist interview, Arthur Kosowsky—a member of the ATC team and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh—discusses how he is using ATC to reach back in time billions of years to search for gravitational waves that could verify inflation and reveal unprecedented details about how the cosmos was born.
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