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Thursday, Nov 27th

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Colliding stars could be source of gold on Earth

gold originThe gold glinting on your wedding band was likely born in a cataclysmic merger of two exceedingly exotic stars, astronomers report Wednesday.

Dying stars billions of years ago cooked up most of the lighter elements in the universe, the oxygen in the air and calcium of our bones, and blasted it across the cosmos in their final explosive moments. We are stardust, as the singer Joni Mitchell put it.

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Death of a sun-like star captured by Hubble

Death of starNASA's Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory observed the death of a star much like the sun.

NGC 2392, located about 4,200 light years from Earth, is a dying star nicknamed the Eskimo Nebula -- what astronomers call a planetary nebula. Planetary nebulas actually have nothing to do with planets, but the objects looked like planetary disks to earlier astronomers looking through small optical telescopes.

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Giant iceberg breaks off Antarctica glacier

Pine Island IcebergAn iceberg larger than the city of Chicago broke off of Antartica's Pine Island Glacier Monday and is now floating freely in the Amundsen Sea.

According to Live Science, the giant iceberg measures about 278 square miles and it was spotted floating in the wild by TerraSAR-X, an Earth-observing satellite operated by the German Space Agency (DLR).

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Antarctic Lake Vostok buried under two miles of ice found to teem with life

Life under Antarctic lakeAnalysis of ice cores obtained from the basin of Lake Vostok, the subglacial lake that Russian scientists drilled down to in 2012, have revealed DNA from an estimated 3,507 organisms.

While the majority were found to be bacteria, many of which were new to science, there were also other single celled organisms and multicellular organisms found, including from fungi.

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UK astronomers to co-ordinate their search for alien signals

SETIBritish scientists are to make a concerted effort to look for alien life among the stars. Academics from 11 institutions have set up a network to co-ordinate their Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (Seti).

The English Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees, will act as patron. The group is asking funding agencies for a small - about £1m a year - sum of money to support listening time on radio telescopes and for data analysis.

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'Invisibility cloak' pioneer John Pendry scoops Newton Medal

Jjohn PendryThe physicist who proposed the idea of an "invisibility cloak" has received the Newton Medal, the highest honour of the UK's Institute of Physics (IoP). Imperial College London's Prof Sir John Pendry was cited "for his seminal contributions to surface science, disordered systems and photonics".

But his work on cloaking and "metamaterials" is arguably his most famous and potentially transformative. IoP president Peter Knight called the award "our most important medal".

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NIH to retire most chimps from medical research

Medical chimpsThe government is about to retire most of the chimpanzees who've spent their lives in U.S. research labs.

The National Institutes of Health said Wednesday that it will retire about 310 chimps from medical research over the next few years, saying humans' closest relatives "deserve special respect."

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