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Keyword: xplanets

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  • NASA's Kepler Twitter hacked, tweets photo of woman's butt

    07/06/2016 7:13:02 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 27 replies
    cnet ^ | 07/06/2016
    Kepler normally makes news for its planetary findings, like this batch of nine planets discovered in a habitable zone of stars where conditions could be right for liquid water, and potentially life. Twitter has a long history of hacks, often targeted at celebrity accounts. A hacker compromised Jack Black's Tenacious D Twitter account earlier this year with a fake death notice sent out to his fans. Other big names, including Katy Perry and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, have also been victimized on the social-media site. NASA's Kepler account seems like an unusual choice for a Twitter hack. "We're investigating the cause...
  • New clues in search for Planet Nine

    07/05/2016 6:11:20 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 30 replies
    Science News ^ | 5 Jul, 2016 | CHRISTOPHER CROCKETT
    More clues about where to search for a possible ninth planet lurking in the fringes of our solar system are emerging from the Kuiper belt, the icy debris field beyond Neptune. And new calculations suggest that the putative planet might be brighter — and a bit easier to find — than once thought. Evidence for the existence of Planet Nine is scant, based on apparent alignments among the orbits of the six most distant denizens of the Kuiper belt (SN: 2/20/16, p. 6). Their oval orbits all point in roughly the same direction and lie in about the same plane,...
  • World's largest radio telescope takes shape, to decode cosmic message

    07/04/2016 9:19:55 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 25 replies
    Xinhua ^ | | 2016-07-03 21:27:40
    Installation was completed on the world's largest radio telescope on Sunday morning as the last of 4,450 panels was fitted into the center of the big dish. ... In the first two or three years after its completion, the telescope will undergo further adjustment, and during that period Chinese scientists will use it for early-stage research. After that, it will be open to scientists worldwide, said Peng Bo, director of the NAO Radio Astronomy Technology Laboratory. Scientists can also carry out remote control and observation in other cities such as Beijing, more than 2,000 kilometers from the telescope site, said...
  • Pluto spacecraft gets new mission

    07/03/2016 6:20:18 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    earthsky.org ^ | July 1, 2016 | Deborah Byrd
    In a late-day Friday announcement on July 1, 2016, NASA said that the first-ever spacecraft to visit the dwarf planet Pluto – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft – has received the nod to fly onward to an object deeper in the Kuiper Belt, known as 2014 MU69. This object had not even been discovered when New Horizons was launched in 2006. The spacecraft will rendezvous with 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019. ... In addition to the extension of the New Horizons mission, NASA determined that the Dawn spacecraft should remain at the dwarf planet Ceres, rather than changing course to...
  • Centaurs Keep Their Rings From Greedy Gas Giants

    06/26/2016 10:36:02 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 14 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | 06/24/2016 | Matt Williams
    Centaurs are a population of objects within our Solar System that behave as both comets and asteroids (hence why they are named after the hybrid beasts of Greek mythology). 10199 Chariklo is the largest known member of the Centaur population, a possible former Trans-Neptunian Object (TNO) which currently orbits between Saturn and Uranus. The rings around this asteroid were first noticed in 2013 when the asteroid underwent a stellar occultation. This revealed a system of two rings, with a radius of 391 and 405 km and widths of about 7 km 3 km, respectively. The absorption features of the rings...
  • Hunt for Intelligent Aliens Focuses on Faint Laser Flashes

    06/23/2016 9:20:25 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 20 replies
    SPACE.com ^ | August 20, 2013 03:50pm ET | Charles Q. Choi,
    When it comes to detecting laser pulses aliens might shoot at Earth to attract our attention, scientists now find they can detect signals as faint as a single photon of light every few tiny fractions of a second. Astronomers have gazed at the skies for decades searching for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. Lasers can in principle help transmit messages over extraordinary distances, but while scientists have monitored a large number of stars looking for alien laser signals — for instance, facilities at Harvard and Princeton scanned more than 10,000 sun-like stars for several years — no evidence for any have...
  • Stolen World: 'Planet 9' Likely Came from Another Star

    06/02/2016 7:40:16 AM PDT · by MtnClimber · 44 replies
    Space.com ^ | 1 Jun, 2016 | Mike Wall
    There may be an alien planet lurking within Earth's own solar system. If the hypothetical Planet Nine does indeed exist, the sun probably ripped the world away from another star long ago, a new study suggests. "It is almost ironic that while astronomers often find exoplanets hundreds of light-years away in other solar systems, there's probably one hiding in our own backyard," study lead author Alexander Mustill, an astronomer at Lund University in Sweden, said in a statement. [The Evidence for Planet Nine in Pictures]. Earlier this year, astronomers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, both of the California Institute of...
  • Stars with planets on strange orbits: what's going on?

    05/29/2016 5:12:02 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 24 replies
    phys.org ^ | 05/27/2016
    All the planets in our solar system orbit close to the sun's equatorial plane. Of the eight confirmed planets, the Earth's orbit is the most tilted, but even that tilt is still small, at just seven degrees. It was natural, then, for astronomers to expect that planets orbiting other stars would behave the same way... But in recent years, new observations have revealed that the story is somewhat more complicated, at least for the oddest planets known, the Hot Jupiters. ... Comparable in mass to Jupiter, they move on incredibly short period orbits, almost skimming the surfaces of their host...
  • A planet 1,200 light-years away is a good prospect for a habitable world

    05/29/2016 11:03:46 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 35 replies
    www.sciencedaily.com ^ | May 27, 2016 | Source: University of California - Los Angeles
    An artist's conception of Kepler-62f, a planet in the 'habitable zone' of a star located about 1,200 light-years from Earth. Credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle ========================================================================================================================= A distant planet known as Kepler-62f could be habitable, a team of astronomers reports. The planet, which is about 1,200 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Lyra, is approximately 40 percent larger than Earth. At that size, Kepler-62f is within the range of planets that are likely to be rocky and possibly could have oceans, said Aomawa Shields, the study's lead author and a National Science Foundation astronomy and astrophysics postdoctoral fellow...
  • Astronomers find giant planet around very young star

    05/26/2016 10:05:19 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 12 replies
    phys.org ^ | May 26, 2016 | Provided by: Rice University
    Astronomers used the Harlan J. Smith Telescope at the University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis, Texas, to search for a planet around star CI Tau. Credit: Ethan Tweedie Photography ================================================================================================== In contradiction to the long-standing idea that larger planets take longer to form, U.S. astronomers today announced the discovery of a giant planet in close orbit around a star so young that it still retains a disk of circumstellar gas and dust. "For decades, conventional wisdom held that large Jupiter-mass planets take a minimum of 10 million years to form," said Christopher Johns-Krull, the lead author...
  • 'Alien Megastructure' Star Only Gets More Mysterious

    05/22/2016 6:39:00 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 53 replies
    Popular Science ^ | May 10, 2016 | Sarah Fecht
    Every now and then, a distant star called KIC 8462852 dims by as much as 20 percent. That's huge. Even a passing planet as big as Jupiter would only block about 1 percent of the star's light. Ruling out a planet, scientists have no idea what could be eclipsing the star (which is informally known as 'Tabby's Star'). The leading hypothesis is a family of really big comets, but that doesn't quite fit. Astronomer Jason Wright pointed out that the light patterns are consistent with what we'd expect if aliens had built a Dyson swarm of solar collectors around the...
  • Humans on Mars: Scouting Needed for Red Planet Resources

    05/17/2016 6:27:21 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 48 replies
    Space.com ^ | 05/16/2016 | Leonard David,
    Last year, scientists proposed nearly 50 locations on Mars as possible places for future human landings. Those landing-zone sites contain "regions of interest" that can be reached from primary touchdown spots. Good touchdown sites will allow crews to land safely and carry out operations; offer a wealth of interesting science activities; and provide resources that the astronauts could use. For example, any favored exploration zone should allow expeditionary crews to tap into at least 100 metric tons (110 U.S. tons) of water, NASA officials have said. With its suite of instruments and cameras — particularly the sharp-shooting High Resolution Imaging...
  • Why dying stars may be a good place to look for alien life

    05/16/2016 3:15:46 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    washingtonpost.com ^ | May 16 at 12:53 PM | By Sarah Kaplan
    In a paper published Monday in the Astrophysical Journal, Kaltenegger, who is director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University, and her colleague Ramses Ramirez modeled the conditions under which life could exist around stars that are close to using up their fuel — ones much older and bigger than our sun. "We can find all these new places that may become habitable worlds," Kaltenegger said, in the dim, red glow of a slow-burning dwarf star, or on once-frozen planets thawed by a rapidly expanding red giant. Nearly two dozen such potentially life-sustaining suns exist right in our own...
  • Mysterious Martian "Cauliflower" May Be the Latest Hint of Alien Life

    02/05/2016 1:23:16 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    smithsonianmag.com ^ | 02/01/2016 | Sarah Scoles
    The hunt for signs of life on Mars has been on for decades, and so far scientists have found only barren dirt and rocks. Now a pair of astronomers thinks that strangely shaped minerals inside a Martian crater could be the clue everyone has been waiting for. In 2008, scientists announced that NASA's Spirit rover had discovered deposits of a mineral called opaline silica inside Mars's Gusev crater. That on its own is not as noteworthy as the silica's shape: Its outer layers are covered in tiny nodules that look like heads of cauliflower sprouting from the red dirt. No...
  • Kepler detects nearly 1,300 more planets orbiting distant stars

    05/14/2016 9:10:33 PM PDT · by NormsRevenge · 11 replies
    SFGate.com ^ | 5/11/16 | David Perlman
    Astronomers monitoring the Kepler space telescope have detected nearly 1,300 planets flying in orbit around distant stars, a cosmic search that began nearly 10 years ago inside a rusty old telescope dome at the Lick Observatory atop Mount Hamilton near San Jose. From the size and orbits of the new-found “exoplanets,” the astronomers said at least 550 could be rocky planets much like Earth, and at least nine are orbiting at just the right distance from their stars to lie inside their “habitable zones” where temperatures would be just right for liquid water, the one ingredient essential for life to...
  • New study supports natural causes, not alien activity, explain mystery star's behavior

    05/09/2016 8:56:03 PM PDT · by rdl6989 · 16 replies
    phys.org ^ | May 9, 2016 | David Salisbury
    Sorry, E.T. lovers, but the results of a new study make it far less likely that KIC 8462852, popularly known as Tabby's star, is the home of industrious aliens who are gradually enclosing it in a vast shell called a Dyson sphere. Public interest in the star, which sits about 1,480 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus, began last fall when Yale astronomer Tabetha ("Tabby") Boyajian and colleagues posted a paper on an astronomy preprint server reporting that "planet hunters" - a citizen science group formed to search data from the Kepler space telescope for evidence of exoplanets - had...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Three Worlds for TRAPPIST-1

    05/07/2016 5:39:19 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | Saturday, May 07, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Three new found worlds orbit the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1, a mere 40 light-years away. Their transits were first detected by the Belgian robotic TRAnsiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope, TRAPPIST, at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile. The newly discovered exoplanets are all similar in size to Earth. Because they orbit very close to their faint, tiny star they could also have regions where surface temperatures allow for the presence of liquid water, a key ingredient for life. Their tantalizing proximity to Earth makes them prime candidates for future telescopic explorations of the atmospheres of these potentially habitable...
  • New Horizons sets sights on its next target, a mysterious object at solar system's edge

    05/06/2016 6:37:23 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 10 replies
    Known as 2014 MU69, the object is thought to be unchanged since the birth of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.... ... Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel submitted plans last month to NASA to fly past the relatively tiny chunk of icy matter on New Year's Day 2019. If NASA approves it, the extended New Horizon mission could give a close-up view of what has so far only appeared to scientists as a faint dot of light. ... The object is in a 300-year orbit around the sun in the Kuiper Belt, a region of space beyond...
  • Scientists discover three 'potentially habitable' planets

    05/02/2016 10:19:44 AM PDT · by Phlap · 40 replies
    Yahoo ^ | 05/02/2016 | Marlowe Hood
    An international team of scientists said Monday they had discovered a trio of Earth-like planets that are the best bet so far for finding life outside our solar system. The three orbit an ultracool dwarf star a mere 39 light years away, and are likely comparable in size and temperature to Earth and Venus, they reported in a study, published in Nature.
  • Pluto's 'Little Sister' Makemake Has a Moon

    04/27/2016 6:41:16 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 21 replies
    discover.com ^ | Irene Klotz
    Astronomers will now try to learn more about the moon’s orbit so they can calculate a mass for the system and learn more about how it formed. “The discovery … has given us an opportunity to study Makemake in far greater detail than we ever would have been able to without the companion,” Parker said. Preliminary estimates indicate that if the moon is in a circular orbit, it completes a circuit around Makemake in 12 days or longer.