Astronomers using ESA’s XMM-Newton X-ray observatory have discovered a black hole they labeled HLX-1 (Hyper-Luminous X-ray source 1), which lies towards the outskirts of the galaxy ESO 243-49, approximately 290 million light-years from Earth and weighs more than 500 solar masses, making it a 'missing link' between lighter stellar-mass and heavier supermassive black holes. This discovery is the best detection to date of a new class that has long been searched for: intermediate mass black holes.
The discovery has been made by an international team of researchers working with XMM-Newton data, led by Sean Farrell from the Centre d’Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements, now based at the University of Leicester. 
Researchers have completed the largest ever survey for very distant clusters of galaxies. 

Named the Spitzer Adaptation of the Red-sequence Cluster Survey, "SpARCS" detects galaxy clusters using deep ground-based optical observations from the CTIO 4m and CFHT 3.6m telescopes, combined with Spitzer Space Telescope infrared observations. 

SpARCS is designed to find clusters as they appeared lwhen the universe was 6 billion years old or younger.  Astronomers believe the universe was formed 13.7 billion years ago.
Why did our Milky Way galaxy survive while others failed?    Ill-defined, convenient catch-all dark matter gets the credit, according to a new paper.   Dark matter is thought to make up 85 per cent of the Universe’s mass and it may also be one of the building blocks of galaxy formation.

The researchers say that the early Milky Way, which had begun forming stars, held on to the raw gaseous material from which further stars would be made. This material would otherwise have been evaporated by the high temperatures generated by the “ignition” of the Universe about half-a-billion years after the Big Bang.
NASA watch seems to have been first in noticing the way-cool Star-Trek Style NASA poster, cheerfully shown here in all its glory.  Yes, this is not your parent's NASA... no, wait, it is.  Star Trek also dates from the 60s.

NASA/Trek poster

It's a well-done poster, with great poses all around.  That's the crew for shuttle Expedition 21.  Until we build Star Fleet, I figure these people qualify.
An enormous plume of water spurts in giant jets from the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus and a report published in Nature provides evidence that this magnificent plume is fed by a salty ocean.

The Cassini spacecraft made a surprising discovery about Saturn's sixth largest moon, Enceladus, on its exploration of the giant ringed planet in 2005. Enceladus ejects water vapor, gas and tiny grains of ice into space hundreds of kilometres above the moon's surface.
Not all job rejections are equal. Being turned down from the 'Wally the Whale' fish sandwich stop at age 17, for example, was probably a blessing in disguise. Also humorous, as it was my first 'overqualified' experience-- I'd had 2 year's work at a seafood market prior.

That said, some jobs you just want more than others. I'm only a few weeks into my attempt at transitioning to a salaried science writing/web gig. So far the news is mixed. And mixed, as all job-hunters know, means either 'indetermined' or 'bad'.

Having just gotten the 'call of doom' from the first off my "really want" job list, though, I must say there are many bright sides to this. Here's my top 5 list on why job hunting rocks!
An enormous eruption has found its way to Earth after travelling for many thousands of years across space. Studying this blast with ESA's XMM-Newton and Integral space observatories, astronomers have discovered a dead star belonging to a rare group: the magnetars.

X-Rays from the giant outburst arrived on Earth on 22 August 2008, and triggered an automatic sensor on the NASA-led, international Swift satellite. Just twelve hours later, XMM-Newton zeroed in and began to collect the radiation, allowing the most detailed spectral study of the decay of a magnetar outburst.
The interstellar stuff that became incorporated into the planets and life on Earth has younger cosmic roots than theories predict, according to the University of Chicago postdoctoral scholar Philipp Heck and his international team of colleagues.

Heck and his colleagues examined 22 interstellar grains from the Murchison meteorite for their analysis. Dying sun-like stars flung the Murchison grains into space more than 4.5 billion years ago, before the birth of the solar system. Scientists know the grains formed outside the solar system because of their exotic composition.
When you go to New York City, to Central Park, to the American Museum of Natural History, to the Hayden Planetarium, to a seminar hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, on the entire cosmos, you might think it would be hard to figure out who 'the star' will be.
Doom and gloom types always want to lament that the presence of people is killing the Earth.  Not so, say California Institute of Technology (Caltech) scientists.   At least on a cosmic scale, the presence of life may increase longevity for planets.

In traditional thinking, a billion years from now the ever-increasing radiation from the sun will have heated Earth into inhabitability, causing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that serves as food for plant to disappear.  The oceans will evaporate and all living things will disappear.

Maybe not quite so soon, say researchers from Caltech, who have come up with a mechanism that doubles the future lifespan of the biosphere while also increasing the chance that advanced life will be found elsewhere in the universe.