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  • richardmitnick 8:15 am on May 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Black Knight, CosmosUp   

    From CosmosUp: “Black knight: An Alien Satellite Orbiting Earth?” 

    CosmosUp bloc

    CosmosUp

    Legend has it that there is a mysterious, ancient dark object orbiting Earth for quite some time now. Its origin and purpose are incomprehensible, named the Black Knight this 13K years old subtle satellite has supposedly been transmitting signs towards the Earth for over 50 years now.

    The inception of the ominous name is a part of the enigma; it is difficult to find who initially called it this or to be sure why. People have just in the most recent 60 years had the technology to launch a man-made object into space so what is the logical clarification of stories of an alien intruder on our doorstep?

    The Tesla Transmissions

    The primary evident piece of this story starts with signals picked up by Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), a brilliant Serbian inventor who spent the vast majority of his vocation in the USA. He was an electrical specialist and delivered works which investigated radio and remote transmissions.

    In 1899, he reportedly intercepted a signal dissimilar to any of the characteristic sources from Earth, for example, electrical storms that he had already examined in his experiments. Rather, he declared that regular signals must be coming from an intelligent outside source, possibly inhabitants of Mars. Tesla never claimed to have heard signals from a satellite orbiting Earth.

    “I have a deep conviction that highly intelligent beings exist on Mars,

    Tesla told a reporter from the Albany Telegram in 1923.

    While experimenting in Colorado…I obtained extraordinary experimental evidence of the existence of life on Mars. I had perfected a wireless receiver of extraordinary sensitiveness, far beyond anything known, and I caught signals which I interpreted as meaning 1–2–3–4. I believe the Martians used numbers for communication because numbers are universal.”

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    Today there are the individuals who say he was listening to a transmission from an orbiting satellite of unknown origin, later called by some the Black Knight.

    It is somewhat more probable, however still extremely distant from plausible, that what was Tesla distinguished was not a circling satellite but rather flags radiated from normal objects.

    Today we know of some natural extraterrestrial repeating sources, for example, pulsars.

    pulsar orbiting a binary companion and the gravitational waves (or ripples) in spacetime that ensue as a resul ESO
    Pulsar orbiting a binary companion and the gravitational waves (or ripples) in spacetime. ESO

    These are highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. They were initially found in 1967 by Northern Irish astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell-Burnell (1943-).

    Until certain of their beginning, they were jokingly nicknamed the Little Green Men signals. Tesla was not hearing the signals from pulsars however and was totally unaware of the nature of what he had really detected (if undoubtedly he grabbed anything by any stretch of the imagination).

    Telsa clearly never attempted to repeat his observations, claiming that different matters took priority, an astonishingly casual response to so significant a claim.

    The Black Knight Decoded

    In the 1920s mysterious signs were again detected by a Norwegian engineer named Jørgen Hals. These were initially of Earthly origin, yet their timing was strange! Hals noticed that some of the signals would echo back to him several seconds after the initial transmission had ended. These Long Delayed Echoes (LDEs) were hard to clarify in terms or radio waves bouncing off atmospheric layers.

    In 1973, science fiction author Duncan Lunan went back to these signals to check whether he could comprehend them. Marvelously, by plotting the delay times against the order in which the echoes were received he could make what seemed, by all accounts to be star charts and diagrams.

    By translating them, Lunan decided that the signals were really messages transmitted by a test initially from the star Epsilon Böotes which had been hiding close to the Moon for as long as 13 000 years. Lunan later retracted his conclusions, admitting he’d made “outright errors” and characterizing his methods as “unscientific”.

    Lunan is not an expert astronomer but rather a science communicator and sci-fi creator with a flair for outré ideas yet in any case the name Black Knight is never specified by him; nor has he actually connected his Epsilon Böotes theory with the Black Knight, others appears to be responsible for this.

    The final piece of proof came in 1998, when the space shuttle Endeavor made its first flight to the International Space Station on flight STS-88. Astronauts aboard Endeavor took many photographs of a strange object, which were widely available to the public on the NASA website.

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    There are links to these NASA images in the full article which would not copy.
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    So is the Black Knight an Extraterrestrial satellite sent to Earth to study the Human race? We actually don’ know. One thing is for sure, Black knight remains as one of the most mysterious objects to orbit our planet.

    We’d never seen anything like this star, it was really weird.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 9:22 am on May 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CosmosUp, Galaxy IC 1101, , the largest galaxy known to date   

    From CosmosUp: “IC 1101: The Largest Galaxy In the Known Universe” 

    CosmosUp bloc

    CosmosUp

    02, May 2016
    T. Darnell

    There are about 100 billion to 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe. For roughly 13 billion years they’ve swarmed around each other, colliding and merging, undergoing rapid star formation and suffering periods of drought, where no new stars are born.

    They range in size and shape from small, dwarf galaxies to the beautiful and graceful mid-range spiral galaxies to the gigantic and ancient ellipticals. The smallest, the dwarf galaxies, can be as small as 200 light years across and not much more massive than a star cluster.

    They contain as few as a hundred million stars and act as shepherds of most of the spiral galaxies we see today. The largest galaxies in the universe are the ellipticals. They are featureless collections of very old stars that range in shape from nearly spherical to highly flat and contains as many as a trillion stars.

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    So an intriguing question to ask is, of all these giant galaxies in the universe, which one is the largest? What is the largest galaxy we’ve ever seen? The answer is this one: known as IC 1101.

    IC 1101 The largest galaxy Known so Far.

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    IC1101 vs Milky Way. No Image credit

    IC 1101 is located one billion light years away in the constellation Serpens, this is the largest galaxy in the known universe. It is enormous, it has a diameter of six million light years and a mass of over 100 trillion stars, with most of that mass in the form of elusive dark matter.

    “Of all the structures we’ve ever seen, this is the most massive in the first 4 billion years of the universe,”

    astronomer Mark Brodwin said.

    IC 1101 is more than 50 times the size of the Milky Way and 2000 times as massive. If it were in put in place of our galaxy, it would swallow up the Large Magellanic Cloud, Small Magellanic Cloud, Andromeda Galaxy, and Triangulum Galaxy.

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    IC 1101 has spent most of its life colliding with other galaxies and owes its size to these collisions. Over billions of years, galaxies about the size of the Milky Way and Andromeda have been merging together to sculpt and shape this titan of the cosmos.

    This galaxy is bereft of star making gasses, here rapid star formation has long ago ceased. Because of the lack of gas and dust, very few new stars are being born. Instead, those that remain provide the only source of fuel for their progeny when they die.

    IC 1101 is slowly eating itself to death. Through a telescope, in contrast to the blue-tinged spiral galaxies, IC 1101 is yellow-red in color. The color of a galaxy says a lot about the stars it contains: blue galaxies are alive and vibrant with new stars, while the yellow-red tinge ellipticals signals almost none.

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    IC 1101 and other ellipticals contain at its center, a supermassive black hole. It is commonly understood that the mass of a galaxy’s central black hole is tightly linked to the size of the galaxy, making the one at the center of IC 1101 the largest known supermassive black hole.

    This galaxy is dying a slow death. While not entirely devoid of new stars, unless it continues to merge with newer, younger galaxies, IC 1101 will slowly fade to oblivion. Galaxy collisions and mergers are pulse of the universe, with each one, galaxies are pollinated with new seeds for more stars, keeping them vibrant and young.

    Over time however, these collisions take their toll, the central supermassive black holes devouring all they encounter and leaving behind the shells of ever aging stars.

    We live in a universe teeming with activity, galaxies swarm around each other in a symphony of possibilities, each interaction sparking new life and new energy. If some theories prevail, then our universe may be about 2 billion years away from the halfway point in its life.

    As our Milky Way galaxy participates in this great cosmic dance and collides and merges, morphing from spiral to elliptical and ultimately sharing the fate of IC 1101, it will preside as a venerable statesmen over the Great Rip — the untimely death of our universe.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 11:25 am on April 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CosmosUp,   

    From CosmosUp: “Crazy Technologies To Better Find Distant Earth like Planets” 

    CosmosUp bloc

    CosmosUp

    30, Apr 2016
    Editors

    Finding a true Earth analog orbiting within the habitable zone of a sun-like star is a sort of holy grail to astronomers and we are about to get a lot closer to detect one in the near future as new incredible inventions and technologies are available to us now.

    Today, our best planets’ hunter is the Kepler Telescope, a NASA spacecraft specifically designed to survey a portion of our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover Earth like planets. So far, Kepler has found more than 1000 exoplanets but most of them are just hot gas giants like Jupiter orbiting too close to their parent star and thus they are completely inhospitable to life as we understand it.

    However, researchers think that a handful of Kepler’ planets found so far are a bit like Earth and orbit in the habitable zones of their host stars, where liquid water might exist.

    Detecting an Earth-sized planet is actually a real challenge; these planets are orbiting extremely bright stars, sometimes billions of times brighter than the reflection off the planet; But now scientists think that they have a solution. If we block the glaring light of other stars, then we can study the faint planets in more details.

    “Evidence for life is not going to look like little green people—it’s going to reveal itself in a spectrum.”

    said Nick Siegler.

    NASA’ engineers are now working on 2 technologies to help with this challenge: the starshade, big, flower-shaped spacecraft; and coronagraphs, special masks to block out light from stars’ bright surface.

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    These two method will help us to take images of Earth like planets, and then use other instruments called spectrometers to search the planets’ atmospheres for chemical clues about whether life might exist there.

    “Coronagraphs are like visors in your car – you use them to block the light of the sun so you can see the road,

    said Siegler.

    Starshades, on the other hand, are separate spacecraft that fly in front of other telescopes, so they are more like driving behind a big truck in front of you to block the light of the sun.”

    Siegler is featured in the Crazy Engineering video.


    Access mp4 video here.

    Its awesome to see advancement is still being done every week. We are confident that NASA’ team will succeed soon; this could be a real gamechanger in finding planets, exciting prospects!

    “We think that these technologies are the only near-term solution for characterizing and determining the habitability of an Earth like planets,”

    Anthony Harness said.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 4:04 pm on April 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Venus-Mass Planet In Extremly Rare Planetary System, , , CosmosUp,   

    From CosmosUP: “A Venus-Mass Planet In Extremly Rare Planetary System” 

    CosmosUp bloc

    CosmosUp

    25, Apr 2016
    Editors

    Over the past two decades, the study of exoplanets has grown more rapidly than any other field of astronomy.

    Hundreds of researchers across our globe now work to find new planets, measure their sizes and masses, characterize planetary orbits and more. Whenever our instruments, facilities and observing techniques become available, our insights into exoplanets dramatically advance.

    Today, our best astronomical assets for hunting planets is NASA’ Kepler Space telescope, a space probe launched by NASA in 2009 to discover Earth-size planets beyond our solar system.

    NASA/Kepler Telescope
    NASA/Kepler Telescope

    Kepler found more than 4500 planets candidate and confirmed more than 1000 planets and the tally is rising rapidly.

    From super-Earths to giants hot/cold Jupiters even rogue planets that sail free, our galaxy is a zoo of different kinds of worlds. As we’re progressing on that path, we accomplish fantastic new results. Though, we think we’ve seen it all, the universe can still surprise us. Astronomers hunting for exoplanets just stumble upon something extremely rare, something that we haven’t seen before.

    In a distant place in our galaxy, 1600 light years away from Earth, there’s a binary system composed not by stars but by failed stars. Two brown dwarf stars, low-mass stars with masses 0.2 M⊙ (solar masses) and ∼ 0.1 M⊙ located at a distance of 1.7 AU between them, reside there.

    Artist's concept of a Brown dwarf [not quite a] star. NASA/JPL-Caltech
    Artist’s concept of a Brown dwarf [not quite a] star. NASA/JPL-Caltech

    Brown dwarfs occupy a niche in between stars and planets — massive objects too big to be planets and too small to fuse hydrogen and become stars.

    Brown dwarfs are intermediate in mass between stars and planets, making them important laboratories for testing theories about both classes of objects. They are also potentially a laboratory to test theories of planet formation, as recent studies show.

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    We talk a little about these mysterious class of objects, but the discovery of a binary brown dwarf stars is not the strange part of this article: researchers have now found a planet orbiting the smaller brown dwarf of the binary system.

    Detecting planets that orbit brown dwarfs is really challenging. Brown dwarfs are low-luminosity objects, almost complete absence of light. There so dim and difficult to see that’s a really surprising thing to find a planet orbiting them.

    With present technology, substantially lower-mass companions to brown dwarfs, composed primarily of ice and rock, can only be discovered using the gravitational microlensing technique. Microlensing does not rely on light from either the host or planet, but rather infers the existence and properties of these bodies from their deflection and magnification of light from a more distant star that is fortuitously aligned with the system. With this technique, only 4 super-Jupiter planets orbiting brown dwarfs have been detected to date.

    It is extremely difficult—although probably not impossible—to see planets around brown dwarfs by any technique except microlensing,

    says Ohio State University Andrew Gould, part of the team who reported the find.

    In the case of a brown dwarf, even though it’s emitting little or no light, [microlensing] can still betray its presence.

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    In a study* published online on 13 Jul 2015, astronomers using a gravitational microlensing technique have found a Venus-mass planet orbiting the brown dwarf. A rocky planet orbiting a failed star has never been observed before. So, the discovery was really first of its kind.

    The Venus-mass planet, dubbed OGLE-2013-BLG-0723B, orbits its host in about 400 days and at a distance of 50 million kilometers (31 million miles) — about the same distance as Mercury’s closest approach to our sun. The Venus-mass planet is 30% less massive than the Earth and only slightly less massive than Venus.

    We think that we’re really just scratching the surface of what microlensing can tell us about systems people aren’t even really thinking about right now,

    Gould says.

    We’re looking forward in the future to more microlensing detections.

    Venus-mass planet or a star?

    The discovery of OGLE-2013-BLG-0723B was of special scientific interest in many aspects. First, the planet itself is the lowest-mass planet among those discovered by using the microlensing method.

    Second, the host of the planet is a substellar-mass brown dwarf suggesting the possibility that an ice-rock planets can be formed in the outer parts of the accretion disk around a brown dwarf.

    Third, the planet belongs to a binary system where the planet orbits the lower-mass component of the binary.

    Finally, the planet/host mass ratio indicates that the system may be viewed either as a scaled-down version of a planet plus a star or as a scaled-up version of a moon plus a planet orbiting a star, suggesting that the formation processes of companions within accretion disks around stars, brown dwarfs, and planets are similar.

    Based on statistical evidence, that rocky planets around low-mass stellar pairs like this one are likely quite common, enough so that every star in a similar system may boast a terrestrial world. A small portion of those found in the future may well be warm enough to hold liquid water on their surface, and as microlensing surveys improve and space-based efforts continue, more of these worlds should be identified.

    Gould says.

    But this isn’t the end of the story. Today, in a paper** uploaded on arxiv servers, researchers could demolish the venus-mass planet hypothesis.

    In this work, we present another interpretation of the lensing event OGLE-2013-BLG-0723 based on a new solution of lensing parameters found from the reanalysis of the event.

    scientists said.

    From this, we find a new solution where the lens is composed of 2 bodies in contrast to the 3-body solution of the previous analysis.

    Researchers suggest that the lens system is actually composed of two low-mass stars with ∼ 0.2 M⊙ (solar masses) and ∼ 0.1 M⊙.

    So is it a venus-mass planet or just two low-mass stars?

    Considering that two dramatically different solutions can approximately explain the observed light curve, the event suggests the need of carefully testing all possible lens-system geometries.

    Researchers ended.

    Bottom line: Microlensing event OGLE-2013-BLG-0723 was discovered by the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE-IV) on May 12, 2013 using its 1.3m Warsaw telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile.

    OGLE Warsaw Telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile
    OGLE Warsaw telescope interior
    OGLE Warsaw Telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile

    *Science paper:
    A VENUS-MASS PLANET ORBITING A BROWN DWARF: MISSING LINK BETWEEN PLANETS AND MOONS

    **Science paper:
    A NEW NON-PLANETARY INTERPRETATION OF THE MICROLENSING EVENT OGLE-2013-BLG-0723

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 2:35 pm on April 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CosmosUp,   

    From CosmosUp: “New Tool To Revolutionize Planet Hunting” 

    CosmosUp bloc

    CosmosUp

    24, Apr 2016
    Editors

    The discovery of the first exoplanet back in 1995 received widespread media attention and was seen as an important landmark in a new research field, the planet hunting research.

    The discovery was very important not for its magnitude, the planet itself, but because what it means for the future of planetary discovery and mapping. Planet hunting program is leading humankind on a voyage of unprecedented scope promising insight into ours origins and beyond.

    Exoplanet exploration’ goal is to find and characterize planetary systems and Earth-like planets around nearby stars, an essential step to reach our ultimate goals, the discovery of habitable planets and evidence of life on other planets.

    First planet hunting phase has been done with ground telescopes around the world, pushing the limits of their ability but with the launch of NASA Kepler Space Telescope in 2009, researchers have found thousands of planets orbiting other stars, dozens of these exoplanets are Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zone — the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the planet’s surface.

    NASA/Kepler Telescope
    NASA/Kepler Telescope

    Future NASA missions, like James Webb Space Telescope in space, will extend this exoplanetary census much farther in the coming years, discovering and characterizing more and more planets beyond our solar system.

    NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated
    NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

    Methods of detection

    One of the most popular and most effective method for locating and confirming extrasolar planets is called the Doppler radial velocity method. This technique largely relies on the fact that a star does not remain completely stationary, a planet’s gravity also affects the host star in return.

    A planet could produce changes in position and velocity of the star as they orbit their common center of mass, as result, the host star moves, ever so slightly, in a small circle or ellipse, responding to the gravitational tug of its smaller companion. So, using highly sensitive spectrographs, researchers can track a star’s spectrum, searching for periodic shifts and thus picking out exoplanets across the night sky.

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    The radial velocity method has proven itself fruitful in the last decades both for the identification of new exoplanet and the confirmation of exoplanets detected by other methods. But with the recent developments in planet hunting, this method becomes gradually inefficient especially when it used to detect planet around small, cool stars (also called M-stars).

    To date, Kepler telescope have found thousands of exoplanets, many of them are orbiting M-dwarf stars. So, its become clearly that M cool stars class represent valuable targets for the identification of new Earth-mass planetary companions in the habitable zone.

    However, in the case of these low-mass stars, looking at that wobble with the radial velocity becomes gradually harder, as I say, due to the false-positive signals. The wobble could indicate the presence of a planet, but other things can also cause the phenomenon (e.g stellar spots). That’s why researchers decided to refine the radial velocity technique in this latest study.

    In a new study* published online in The Astrophysical Journal, the Carnegie Institute researchers describe how they fix the radial velocity’ accuracy problem.

    New era of planet hunting

    Researchers developed a methane isotopologue gas cell that offers a high absorption line density in the regime of near-infrared wavelengths. This development represents a better calibration tool to improve the overall technology for the radial velocity work.

    Basically, they still use the radial velocity technique, but they switch from visible to infrared wavelengths when making measurements.

    Switching from the visible spectrum to the near-infrared, the wobble effect caused by an orbiting planet will remain the same regardless of wavelength,

    Jonathan Gagne, from Carnegie Institution for Science in the US, explained.

    But looking in the near-infrared will allow us to reject false positives caused by sunspots and other phenomena that will not look the same in near-infrared as they do in visible light,

    In the paper, they also present the first results of this new tool. Researchers use this technological upgrade at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility located at the top of Mauna Kea in Hawaii to survey 32 late-type, nearby stars mostly selected from known members of young moving groups.

    NASA Infrared Telescope facility Mauna Kea Hawaii USA
    NASA Infrared Telescope facility Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA

    Fast results? Scientists confirmed several known planets and binary systems, and also identified a few new planetary candidates.

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    Our results indicate that this planet-hunting tool is precise and should be a part of the mix of approaches used by astronomers going forward,

    said Peter Gao from California Institute of Technology.

    It is amazing to think that two decades ago we had only just confirmed exoplanets actually existed and now we are able to refine and improve those methods for further discoveries,

    This new tool could be huge when it comes to confirming exoplanets in the future. It also could allow the detection of Super-Earths near the habitable zone of mid-M dwarfs in the solar neighborhood.

    These will serve as a crucial complement to transiting exoplanet studies, as the combination of both the radial velocity and transit methods will provide a measurement of the mean planet density and put strong constraints on the physical properties of future Earth-like discoveries.

    *Science Paper
    A HIGH-PRECISION NEAR-INFRARED SURVEY FOR RADIAL VELOCITY VARIABLE LOW-MASS STARS USINGCSHELL AND A METHANE GAS CELL

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 10:15 am on April 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Cosmic Web Simulation: New Spectacular View Of the Universe, CosmosUp   

    From CosmosUp: “Cosmic Web Simulation: New Spectacular View Of the Universe” 

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    CosmosUp

    23, Apr 2016
    Editors

    Matter as we know it, all the planets, stars, galaxies, cluster of galaxies that can be seen make up just 5 percent of the cosmos. Approximately 2% of this percentage is made of stuff astronomers can’t see but still eluded detection.

    Recent cosmological models predicts that the rest of this matter should be located in large-scale structures, a network of galaxies tied together by mysterious forces. These gigantic networks form the cosmic web, a structure which contains most of the material in the universe.

    The cosmic web has dense regions made up of galaxy clusters and groups, sparsely populated regions devoid of galaxies, as well as the filaments that link overdense regions.

    The filaments are like bridges connecting the denser regions in the cosmic web. Imagine threads woven into the web.

    In 2014 researchers, at the University of California, create a video showing these structures in the cosmic web. Its was amazing but now cosmologists and designers at Northeastern’s Center for Complex Network Research designed a mind boggling model of the cosmic web, offering complex blueprints for how galaxies fit together. You don’t need a physics PhD to appreciate the beauty of it.

    Little is known about architecture of the cosmic web or its characteristics. Our research used data from 24,000 galaxies with more than 100,000 connections, to construct multiple models of it.

    They write.

    These three interactive visualizations help us imagine the space, show us differences between the models, and give us insight into the fundamental structure of the universe.

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    Before, the cosmic web was more like a metaphor.

    This is the first time somebody has made these calculations and thought about it as an actual network.

    See the full article here .

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