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Is Dark Matter Coming From The Sun?

A huge filament erupts from the Sun in 2012. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

A huge filament erupts from the Sun in 2012. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

For decades, astronomers and cosmologists have postulated that the Universe is filled with an invisible, mysterious mass known as “dark matter.” For decades, the search for this elusive matter has dominated the field of cosmology. Precise measurements were obtained over 20 years ago when dark matter was first mapped in galaxy halos. Only recently has the existence of dark matter over much larger scales than even galaxy clusters been detected.

Recently, a group of physicists analyzed over 12 years’ worth of telescope data, and have found a signal that some think could be the first detection of a source of dark matter.

And it appears to be coming from … our Sun.

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Ron Cottrell captured the sunspot group 2192 in all its swirly magnetic goodness in hydrogen-alpha light on October 19. To appreciate its size, he included the Earth (lower left) for reference. Credit: Ron Cottrell

Ron Cottrell captured the sunspot group 2192 in all its swirly magnetic goodness in hydrogen-alpha light on October 19. To appreciate its size, he included the Earth (lower left) for reference. Credit: Ron Cottrell

That’s one big, black blemish on the Sun today! Rarely have we been witness to such an enormous sunspot. Lifting the #14 welder’s glass to my eyes this morning I about jumped back and bumped into the garage. [click to continue…]

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Six images that combine Chandra data with those from other telescopes. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO, Optical: NASA/STScI, Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA).

Six images that combine Chandra data with those from other telescopes. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO, Optical: NASA/STScI, Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA).

What a gem! This huge black hole in the middle of Hercules A is making gas around it super-heated to millions of degrees, making it shine brightly in X-Rays. The Chandra X-Ray Telescope captured the scene and in a new data release this week, telescope officials cracked open the archives to give us gems such as this.

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No, This Is Not a Photo of India on Diwali

Yes, it's India, but it's not a photo captured from space during Diwali night. (Credit: NASA)

Yes, it’s India, but it’s not a photo captured from space during Diwali night. (Credit: NOAA)

Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, falls on Thursday, Oct. 23 this year and with it come celebrations, gift-giving, and brilliant lighting and firework displays all across the subcontinent of India… but this isn’t a picture of that. What is it exactly? Find out below…

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A 3-D image of "Wdowiak Ridge" on Mars, based on images from the left and right side of the Opportunity rover's Pancam. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

A 3-D image of “Wdowiak Ridge” on Mars, based on images from the left and right side of the Opportunity rover’s Pancam. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

Grab your 3-D glasses (you do have a pair handy, right?) and take a look at this latest vista from Mars. This is a view taken by the Opportunity rover that looks at a location nicknamed “Wdowiak Ridge”, on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

This mosaic was obtained Sept. 17 as Curiosity continued its journey to “Marathon Valley”, a spot that could hold clays (which would indicate a water-rich environment in the past.) The rover is more than a decade into its mission and has been sending back images amid battling Flash memory problems lately.

Check out more recent pictures below, including a probable one of Comet Siding Spring passing by Mars (which Bob King wrote about in detail earlier this week.)

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