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Keyword: xplanets

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  • NASA Gets a Rare Look at a Rocky Exoplanet's Surface [LHS 3844b]

    10/14/2019 8:02:31 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory Spitzer Telescope site ^ | August 19, 2019 | Calla Cofield
    A new study using data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope provides a rare glimpse of conditions on the surface of a rocky planet orbiting a star beyond the Sun... the planet's surface may resemble those of Earth's Moon or Mercury: The planet likely has little to no atmosphere and could be covered in the same cooled volcanic material found in the dark areas of the Moon's surface, called mare. Discovered in 2018 by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Satellite Survey (TESS) mission, planet LHS 3844b is located 48.6 light-years from Earth and has a radius 1.3 times that of Earth. It orbits...
  • What If Planet Nine Is a Bowling-Ball-Sized Black Hole?

    10/01/2019 6:44:19 AM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 29 replies
    Gizmodo ^ | September 28, 2019 | Ryan F. Mandelbaum
    Some of the most distant rocks in our solar system act in a way that suggests there’s some massive object out there we haven’t been able to see. A planet? Maybe. But why not a small black hole? That’s a scenario a pair of scientists describe in a new paper. Of course, they recognise that a planet is more likely than an ancient black hole unlike any we’ve directly observed. But they simply want astronomers to think creatively while hunting for whatever this hypothetical object, often called Planet Nine, might be. “By simply focussing on the concept of a planet,...
  • Astronomers find cyanide gas in interstellar object 2I/Borisov

    10/08/2019 8:22:09 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 21 replies
    phys.org ^ | 10/07/2019 | Mat Williams
    C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) this summer provided renewed opportunities to study material left by outgassing. Using data gathered by the William Herschel Telescope (WHT), an international team of astronomers found that 2I/Borisov contains cyanide. Since comets and asteroids are essentially material left over from the formation of a planetary system, these studies will allow scientists to place constraints on the physical and chemical processes involved in the formation of extrasolar planets. Basically, it's like being able to study extrasolar planets without having to go there physically. Prof. Fitzsimmons told Universe Today, materials from other planetary systems, delivered to our doorstep—or at...
  • Planet Nine could be a primordial black hole, new research suggests

    09/30/2019 4:33:55 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 27 replies
    phys.org ^ | 09/30/2019 | Tomasz Nowakowsk
    Primordial black holes (PBHs) are old and relatively small black holes that emerged soon after the Big Bang. They are thought to have been formed as a result of density fluctuations in the very early universe. It is believed that PBHs with the lowest mass have likely evaporated. However, those with larger masses may still exist, evaporating at the present epoch—even though they have been never directly observed. Astronomers Jakub Scholtz of Durham University and James Unwin of University of Illinois at Chicago, assume that PBHs could reside even closer to us than we think. In a recently published paper,...
  • WFIRST Space Telescope Fitted for 'Starglasses'

    09/26/2019 6:28:21 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA Exoplanets ^ | September 24, 2019 | Pat Brennan
    When a new NASA space telescope opens its eyes in the mid-2020s, it will peer at the universe through some of the most sophisticated sunglasses ever designed. This multi-layered technology, the coronagraph instrument, might more rightly be called "starglasses": a system of masks, prisms, detectors and even self-flexing mirrors built to block out the glare from distant stars - and reveal the planets in orbit around them. Normally, that glare is overwhelming, blotting out any chance of seeing planets orbiting other stars, called exoplanets, said Jason Rhodes, the project scientist for the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) at NASA's Jet...
  • An interstellar comet looks to be heading our way

    09/11/2019 5:58:09 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 91 replies
    cnet ^ | September 11, 2019 | Eric Mack
    A comet first spotted by a Ukrainian amateur astronomer looks to be just the second known object to visit our cosmic neighborhood from beyond the solar system. What could be an even bigger deal is that this one was discovered as it's still approaching us. The comet was found by Gennady Borisov of Crimea on Aug. 30, and went by the temporary name GB00234 until very recently. After being watched by several other observatories over the past few weeks, it was given the official name of C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) by the Minor Planet Center on Wednesday. It appeared to follow...
  • Strange alien world found to have water vapor and possibly rain clouds

    09/11/2019 12:58:34 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 33 replies
    NBC News ^ | Sept. 11, 2019, 1:24 PM CDT | By Chelsea Gohd
    Exoplanet K2-18 b lies in the habitable zone of its host star some 110 light-years from Earth. In a major first, scientists have detected water vapor and possibly even liquid water clouds that rain in the atmosphere of a strange exoplanet that lies in the habitable zone of its host star about 110 light-years from Earth. A new study focuses on K2-18 b, an exoplanet discovered in 2015, orbits a red dwarf star close enough to receive about the same amount of radiation from its star as Earth does from our sun. Previously, scientists have discovered gas giants that have...
  • Queen guitarist Brian May weighs in on Pluto as a planet (he has a doctorate in astrophysics)

    08/29/2019 9:19:58 PM PDT · by DoodleBob · 56 replies
    CNET ^ | August 29, 2019 | Amanda Kooser
    You might not care what Keith Richards or Jimmy Page think about Pluto's status as a dwarf planet, but when Queen guitarist Brian May speaks up about it, it's worth a listen. May, who received his doctorate in astrophysics in 2007, posted his Pluto thoughts on Instagram late Wednesday after hearing about how NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine still thinks of Pluto as a full-on planet. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) tightened up its definition of a planet in 2006 and demoted Pluto to dwarf-planet status, sparking an ongoing debate that just won't rest. May is on the pro-planet side of...
  • Astronomers Detect a Mammoth Planet With The Most Extreme Orbit We've Ever Seen

    09/01/2019 8:23:25 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 33 replies
    Science Alert ^ | 1 SEP 2019 | MICHELLE STARR
    HR 5183 b slingshots around more like a comet - a long, elliptical orbit with the star at one end of the oval. If HR 5183 b were in our Solar System, it would swing in closer than the orbit of Jupiter, and then way out farther than the orbit of Neptune. HR 5183 b is a massive gas giant that orbits a Sun-like main sequence star called HR 5183 around 103 light-years away. Because the exoplanet's orbit is so weird - it takes around 74 years to orbit the star, swooping out as far as over 30 astronomical units...
  • Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins Opens Up About Aliens

    08/28/2019 1:12:33 PM PDT · by robowombat · 89 replies
    Sputnik ^ | 23:01 28.08.2019
    . Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins Opens Up About Aliens 23:01 28.08.2019 NASA veteran and legendary astronaut Michael Collins, 88, who operated the Command Module during the historic Apollo 11 moon mission in 1969, shared his views on the possibility of alien life during an online question and answer session on Twitter. A netizen asked Collins if he believes that there is "life outside of Earth" under the hashtag #AskMichaelCollins. In a laconic but stunning answer, the veteran astronaut said: "Yes".
  • Study shows some exoplanets may have greater variety of life than exists on Earth

    08/22/2019 6:03:03 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 39 replies
    EurekAlert! ^ | Thursday, August 22, 2019 | Goldschmidt Conference
    A new study indicates that some exoplanets may have better conditions for life to thrive than Earth itself has. "This is a surprising conclusion", said lead researcher Dr Stephanie Olson, "it shows us that conditions on some exoplanets with favourable ocean circulation patterns could be better suited to support life that is more abundant or more active than life on Earth." .... There will always be limitations to our technology, so life is almost certainly more common than "detectable" life. This means that in our search for life in the Universe, we should target the subset of habitable planets that...
  • Moons that escape their planets are now called ‘ploonets’

    07/13/2019 2:40:31 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 67 replies
    BGR ^ | 07/11/2109 | Miek Wehner
    The researchers suggest that this type of world may a result of large “hot Jupiter” exoplanets migrating toward their host star. Exoplanet surveys have detected several such planets, and it’s believed that they likely formed at a greater distance from their respective stars and then slowly crept inward. When that happens, it’s possible that the change in gravitational forces would prompt large moons to break free from their existing orbits and become standalone worlds of their own. Computer simulations showed that this could indeed happen, and in those cases, the researchers believe we should call them ploonets. Remarkably, our own...
  • Alien moon likely seen forming in first-of-its-kind picture

    07/13/2019 8:49:06 AM PDT · by amorphous · 9 replies
    National Geographic ^ | July 12, 2019 | Nadia Drake
    In a possible first, a giant, faraway planet may have been caught in the act of growing moons. Seen in an image from the ALMA Observatory in Chile, the young planet orbits a small star roughly 370 light-years away, and it appears to be swaddled in a dusty, gassy disk—the exact type of structure scientists think produced Jupiter’s many moons billions of years ago.
  • NASA breakthrough: Planet with ‘raining diamonds’ stuns scientists – ‘Extraordinary!’

    07/06/2019 7:04:05 AM PDT · by DUMBGRUNT · 45 replies
    Express ^ | 5 July 2019 | CALLUM HOARE
    NASA discovered Saturn’s mysterious atmosphere boasts diamonds raining down on the planet, it was revealed during a new documentary. “Below the upper atmosphere great clouds of water grow and lightning 10,000 times more powerful than on Earth illuminates the sky. “This lightning transforms the methane gas into huge clouds of soot.” He added: “Deeper still, the pressure grows so great that these chunks of soot are likely transferred into diamonds. “But even these diamonds will succumb to the pressure of Saturn, liquifying.
  • The Planet-Hunting TESS Discovers Its Smallest Exoplanet to Date [L 98-59b]

    07/05/2019 9:23:16 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 23 replies
    Universe Today ^ | July 3, 2019 | Matt Williams
    ...one of TESS’ most recent discoveries includes a three-planet system that orbits a star (L 98-59) located roughly 35 light-years from Earth. One of the planets, known as L 98-59b, is between the sizes of Earth and Mars – effectively making it the smallest exoplanet discovered by TESS to date. The discovery also highlights the sophistication of TESS and doubles the number of small exoplanets that are considered worthy of follow-up studies... While L 98-59b represents a new record for TESS, being about 10% smaller than the previous record-holder it discovered, it is not the smallest exoplanet discovered to date....
  • How Mercury and Venus can guide our hunt for alien life on exoplanets

    06/22/2019 9:29:56 PM PDT · by EdnaMode · 12 replies
    New Scientist ^ | June 19, 2019 | Leah Crane
    Earth's nearest neighbours have turned into uninhabitable hellholes. Understanding their transformation will teach us which rocky exoplanets might be fit for life CLOSE to the sun lie a pair of sizzling coals. You could be forgiven for thinking these strange worlds were two circles of hell: Mercury, a black and blasted plain, and Venus, a sweltering world beset by rain of pure acid. But for all the terror of their outward appearance, their insides are remarkably familiar. Along with Earth and Mars, they form the solar system’s only rocky planets, a stark contrast to the bloated gas giants that make...
  • Astronomers see 'warm' glow of Uranus's rings

    06/20/2019 8:55:48 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 50 replies
    phys.org ^ | 06/20/2019 | by Robert Sanders
    The rings of Uranus are invisible to all but the largest telescopes—they weren't even discovered until 1977—but they're surprisingly bright in new heat images of the planet taken by two large telescopes in the high deserts of Chile. The thermal glow gives astronomers another window onto the rings, which have been seen only because they reflect a little light in the visible, or optical, range and in the near-infrared. The new images taken by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Very Large Telescope (VLT) allowed the team for the first time to measure the temperature of the rings:...
  • Two potentially life-friendly planets found orbiting a nearby star

    06/18/2019 3:30:41 PM PDT · by EdnaMode · 88 replies
    National Geographic ^ | June 18, 2019 | Nadia Drake
    A tiny, old star just 12 light-years away might host two temperate, rocky planets, astronomers announced today. If they’re confirmed, both of the newly spotted worlds are nearly identical to Earth in mass, and both planets are in orbits that could allow liquid water to trickle and puddle on their surfaces. Scientists estimate that the stellar host, known as Teegarden’s star, is at least eight billion years old, or nearly twice the sun’s age. That means any planets orbiting it are presumably as ancient, so life as we know it has had more than enough time to evolve. And for...
  • Vatican Astronomer Discusses Discovery of Kepler-452b

    07/27/2015 9:31:17 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 12 replies
    Father José Gabriel Funes, the director of the Vatican Observatory, said he was "very skeptical" that the discovery of Kepler-452b will lead to an encounter with extraterrestrial life in the near future. Writing in the Vatican newspaper, the priest reviewed the positions of St. Albert the Great, Nicholas of Cusa, and others on the possibility of extraterrestrial life and said that Jesuit Father Angelo Secchi, a pioneer in astrophysics, thought that there were other inhabited worlds. "It seems that the vast majority of stars in our galaxy ... at least potentially can have planets where life could develop," Father Funes...
  • Was Our Solar System Designed to Produce Humans?

    06/01/2019 11:31:37 PM PDT · by vannrox · 8 replies
    New Dawn Magazine ^ | undated | Christopher Knight & Alan Butler
    More than a decade has passed since we joined forces to try and find out if there was any reality to a claim that highly accurate units of length had been in used during the British Neolithic. We found that these supposedly primitive people were using a highly developed science that connected them to the rhythms of the Earth.But our biggest personal challenge has been to face up to the consequences of our own findings because they have brought us to the point where we have found compelling evidence that our planet and its environment has been carefully designed for...