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Giant gorging black holes may explain rapid growth of infant universe
Giant gorging black holes may explain rapid growth of infant universe 30 April 2015A group of unusual giant black holes may be consuming excessive amounts of matter, according to a new study using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This new finding may help astronomers to understand how the largest black holes were able to grow so rapidly in the early universe. The leaders of the study are astronomers at Penn State University. The new result suggests that some quasars are even more adept at devouring material than scientists previously knew.
New NASA coalition to lead search for life on distant worlds includes two leaders at Penn State
New NASA coalition to lead search for life on distant worlds includes two leaders at Penn State 21 April 2015A new NASA initiative is embracing a team approach to the quest for life on planets around other stars. The new Nexus for Exoplanet System Science initiative (NExSS) is a virtual institute that will benefit from the expertise of several dozen team leaders across the NASA science community in an effort to find clues to life on faraway worlds. Two Penn State University astronomers are among the first sixteen leaders on the NExSS team.
Search for Advanced Civilizations Beyond Earth Finds Nothing Obvious in 100,000 Galaxies
Search for Advanced Civilizations Beyond Earth  Finds Nothing Obvious in 100,000 Galaxies 15 April 2015After searching 100,000 galaxies for signs of highly advanced extraterrestrial life, a team of scientists using observations from NASA's WISE orbiting observatory has found no evidence of advanced civilizations in them. "The idea behind our research is that, if an entire galaxy had been colonized by an advanced spacefaring civilization, the energy produced by that civilization's technologies would be detectable in mid-infrared wavelengths -- exactly the radiation that the WISE satellite was designed to detect for other astronomical purposes," said Jason T. Wright, an assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds at Penn State University, who conceived of and initiated the research.

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