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: From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays
Cosmic rays have mysterious qualities about them that scientists continue to research in order to better understand their origins and composition. Dr. Eun-Suk Seo, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues, fly enormous balloons as large as a football stadium and a volume of 40-million-cubic feet for extended periods over Antarctica to study particles coming from cosmic rays before they break up in the atmosphere.
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