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Milky Way

  1. New Study Claims the Milky Way Could Contain 100 Million Planets with Complex Life

    It's basically the Drake Equation with more variables.

    In 1961 Frank Drake set out his formula for estimating the number of intelligent civilizations in our galaxy. A new study from the University of Texas at El Paso looks to improve on Drake's estimate by studying data from more than 1,000 exoplanets for a number of factors, and the number they came up with is enormous.

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  2. Watch a Black Hole Feed on Its Planet-Sized Prey [Video]

    We were too far away to try to stop it. All we could do is watch, helpless, horrified, and secretly delighted, as the event unfolded beyond our reach. The crime: A black hole 47 million light years away, after stirred from its dormancy, fed on a planet-like object that could have had up to 30 times the mass of Jupiter. That's one hungry light-sucking hole!

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  3. Dung Beetles Know Where to Roll Their Dung Balls by Watching the Stars, Milky Way

    Oscar Wilde famously wrote "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars," and it turns out he might have really hit the nail on the head. After all, you don't get much more in the gutter than dung beetles, a species of insect famed for making balls of other animals droppings, and it turns out those humble creatures are avid stargazers. In fact, without a night sky and the Milky Way above them, the insects seem to get lost and are unable to move in a straight line.

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  4. Take A Tour Of The Galaxy In Your Chrome With 100,000 Stars

    Google Chrome is once again making a name for itself as the go-to browser for neat stuff, weird toys, and all kinds of stupid browser tricks that are kind of awesome. The latest gizmo to be added to Chrome's toy chest is 100,000 Stars, a three-dimensional guided tour of stars throughout the Milky Way. Whether you're looking for a better way to get a sense of your place in our incomprehensibly vast universe or just looking to kill some time between meetings, we highly recommend checking this thing out today.

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  5. Researchers Create First Computer Model of Milky Way Formation

    For a long time, scientists have been questioning how exactly a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way is formed. Now, thanks to super computers and math, they have an idea of at least one of the possibilities. The calculations used to form this computer model were first published in 2010, in an issue of the journal Nature. That, however, was only step one. Knowing the appropriate calculations is a far cry from having a computer calculate them.

    In order to acually run the model, researches needed not one, but two super computers, the Cray XT5 "Monte Rosa" at Zurich's Swiss National Supercomputing Center, and NASA's Advanced Supercomputer Division's "Pleiades." Because the model contains (and individually models) something like 790 solar masses, the program brought even these behemoths to their knees. The simulation took, in total, 8 months. If it had been done your average PC, however, it would have taken over 500 years.  All in all, the simulation provides an interesting take on how the formation of a spiral disc galaxy is possible and also makes predictions about aspects of the Milky Way that have yet to be discovered. Pretty wild stuff.

    Time lapse video of (a depiction of) the creation of the Milky Way after the jump.

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  6. Gorgeous Time Lapse Video of Milky Way From Spain’s Tallest Mountain [Video]

    Norwegian photographer Terje Sorgjerd took the above time lapse video of the Spanish sky from El Teide, Spain's tallest mountain, in the Canary Islands. The video features beautiful views of the Milky Way, as well as clouds rolling as if they were water.

    (The Awesomer via Gizmodo)

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