TEMPE, Ariz. – Up until last year globes of Mercury were blank on one side. The Mariner 10 spacecraft explored the small planet in three flybys (1974-1975), but since no more than half was ever seen it remained the least understood of the four terrestrial planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.

An extremely deep Chandra X–ray Observatory image of a region near the center of our Galaxy has resolved a long-standing mystery about an X-ray glow along the plane of the Galaxy. The glow in the region covered by the Chandra image was discovered to be caused by hundreds of point-like X-ray sources, implying that the glow along the plane of the Galaxy is due to millions of such sources.

It sounds like the plot of a sci-fi movie: rogue black holes roaming our galaxy, threatening to swallow anything that gets too close. In fact, new calculations by Ryan O'Leary and Avi Loeb (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) suggest that hundreds of massive black holes, left over from the galaxy-building days of the early universe, may wander the Milky Way.

CHICAGO, IL–Sipuleucel-T (Provenge), an experimental immunotherapy improved survival in men with metastatic disease, according to new results to be presented April 28 at the American Urological Association (AUA) Annual Scientific Meeting in Chicago. These data from the Phase 3 Immunotherapy for Prostate AdenoCarcinoma Treatment (IMPACT) study were presented during the meeting's Late Breaking Science Forum.

Existing health systems in the developing world are fragile and many are unable to provide effective health services — and so there is growing consensus that the success of global health initiatives will depend on "health system strengthening" (a recent buzzword in global health). But a new literature review in this week's PLoS Medicine suggests that while many global health initiatives and agencies claim to support health system strengthening, their claims may not always be matched by their actions.

During the last two decades, astronomers have found hundreds of planets orbiting stars outside our solar system. New research indicates they might have found even more except for one thing – some planets have fallen into their stars and simply no longer exist.

The idea that gravitational forces might pull a planet into its parent star has been predicted by computer models only in the last year or so, and this is the first evidence that such planet destruction has already occurred, said University of Washington astronomer Rory Barnes.

Interactive voice response systems may help improve monitoring of patients taking anticoagulants such as warfarin while reducing the workload of clinical staff, found a study by Ottawa researchers in CMAJ (www.cmaj.ca).

Solar energy has the potential to improve the living conditions of poor rural households in India as well as contribute to the country's future energy security, according to Professor Govindasamy Agoramoorthy from Tajen University, who is Tata-Sadguru Visiting Chair, and Dr. Minna Hsu from the National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan. Their study1, looking at the benefits of solar lanterns on the livelihoods of village communities in Western India, as well as sustainable use of the environment, has just been published online in Springer's journal Human Ecology.

LINTHICUM, MD, April 26, 2009—Patients with stone disease could benefit from drinking diet soda. New research from the University of California, San Francisco suggests that the citrate and malate content in commonly consumed sodas may be sufficient to inhibit the development of calcium stones. The study was presented at the 104th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA).

DURHAM, N.C. – Cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins may reduce inflammation in prostate tumors, possibly hindering cancer growth, according to a study led by investigators in the Duke Prostate Center.

Twenty-four unusual stars, 18 of them newly discovered, have been observed in new Hubble telescope images. The stars are white dwarfs, a common type of dead star, but they are odd because they are made of helium rather than the usual carbon and oxygen.This is the first extensive sequence of helium-core white dwarfs to be observed in a globular cluster, a dense swarm of some of the oldest stars in our galaxy.

(Boston) – Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that among preteens, the use of photographs to measure ultraviolet (UV) exposure, could motivate them to improve sun protection practices and limit number of sunburns. These findings appear in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association.

Researchers at North Carolina State University have used a mathematical model that allows them to get a clearer picture of the galaxy's youngest supernova remnant by correcting for the distortions caused by cosmic dust. Their new data provides evidence that this remnant is from a type Ia supernova - the explosion of a white dwarf star - and raises questions about the ways in which magnetic fields affect the generation of the remnant's cosmic ray particles.

GREENBELT, Md. - An international team of astronomers has used the world's biggest radio telescope to look deep into the brightest galaxies that NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope can see. The study solidifies the link between an active galaxy's gamma-ray emissions and its powerful radio-emitting jets.

"Now we know for sure that the fastest, most compact, and brightest jets we see with radio telescopes are the ones that are able to kick light up to the highest energies," said Yuri Kovalev, a team member at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany.

Pasadena, CA—Using information from a suite of telescopes, astronomers have discovered a mysterious, giant object that existed at a time when the universe was only about 800 million years old. Objects such as this one are dubbed extended Lyman-Alpha blobs; they are huge bodies of gas that may be precursors to galaxies. This blob was named Himiko for a legendary, mysterious Japanese queen. It stretches for 55 thousand light years, a record for that early point in time. That length is comparable to the radius of the Milky Way's disk.