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Keyword: xplanets

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Phobos: Doomed Moon of Mars

    11/22/2015 6:33:53 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 42 replies
    NASA ^ | November 22, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This moon is doomed. Mars, the red planet named for the Roman god of war, has two tiny moons, Phobos and Deimos, whose names are derived from the Greek for Fear and Panic. These martian moons may well be captured asteroids originating in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter or perhaps from even more distant reaches of the Solar System. The larger moon, Phobos, is indeed seen to be a cratered, asteroid-like object in this stunning color image from the robotic Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, recorded at a resolution of about seven meters per pixel. But Phobos orbits...
  • New detector perfect for asteroid mining, planetary research

    11/21/2015 8:16:42 AM PST · by Red Badger · 9 replies ^ | November 20, 2015 | by David Salisbury & Provided by: Vanderbilt University
    Concept of an asteroid redirect mission. Credit: NASA ==================================================================================================================================== The grizzled asteroid miner is a stock character in science fiction. Now, a couple of recent events - one legal and the other technological - have brought asteroid mining a step closer to reality. The legal step was taken when the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee passed a bill titled H.R. 2262—SPACE Act of 2015. The bill has a number of measures designed to facilitate commercial space development, including a provision that gives individuals or companies ownership of any material that they mine in outer space. According to one estimate,...
  • Where Will the 1st Astronauts on Mars Land?

    11/17/2015 9:16:02 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 15 replies ^ | Leonard David,
    The ideal Red Planet crewed site should be of high scientific value — allowing pioneers to search for signs of Mars life and investigate other intriguing questions — and also possess enough resources to help sustain expeditionary crews, scientists and engineers said. They came to these and other conclusions at the First Landing Site/Exploration Zone Workshop for Human Missions to the Surface of Mars, which was held here Oct. 27 though Oct. 30 at the Lunar and Planetary Institute. ... Nearly 50 locations on Mars were proposed as future locales for human landings. Those sites were all within 50 degrees...
  • Astronomers Found the Ghost of a Rare Giant Radio Galaxy

    11/09/2015 6:14:29 AM PST · by Red Badger · 33 replies ^ | 11/08/15 4:05pm | Kiona Smith-Strickland
    Image: J021659-044920. The red and yellow lobes are the galaxy’s radio lobes. The red spot in the center is the visible galaxy. Prathamesh Tamhane/Yogesh Wadadekar. ================================================================================================================== Astronomers in India have discovered a very unusual galaxy, and it’s dying. By now, in fact, it’s probably already dead. The new galaxy, known as J021659-044920, is 9 billion light years away from Earth. That means it’s really old in cosmic terms (but not quite as old as the oldest object astronomers have ever found, a galaxy 13 billion light years away called UDFy-38135539). Viewed in the visible spectrum, J021659-044920spans about 100,000 light years...
  • The Curious Case of Missing Asteroids

    03/03/2009 7:31:32 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 38 replies · 720+ views
    NASA Solar System Exploration ^ | February 25, 2009 | Lori Stiles
    University of Arizona scientists have uncovered a curious case of missing asteroids. The main asteroid belt is a zone containing millions of rocky objects between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The scientists find that there ought to be more asteroids there than researchers observe. The missing asteroids may be evidence of an event that took place about 4 billion years ago, when the solar system's giant planets migrated to their present locations. UA planetary sciences graduate student David A. Minton and UA planetary sciences professor Renu Malhotra say missing asteroids is an important piece of evidence to support an...
  • Assessing the massive young Sun hypothesis to solve the warm young Earth puzzle [preprint abstract]

    04/24/2007 8:09:35 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies · 202+ views ^ | last revised 12 Dec 2006 | David A. Minton, Renu Malhotra
    A moderately massive early Sun has been proposed to resolve the so-called faint early Sun paradox. We calculate the time-evolution of the solar mass that would be required by this hypothesis, using a simple parametrized energy-balance model for Earth's climate. Our calculations show that the solar mass loss rate would need to have been 2-3 orders of magnitude higher than present for a time on the order of ~2 Gy. Such a mass loss history is significantly at variance (both in timescale and in the magnitude of the mass loss rates) with that inferred from astronomical observations of mass loss...
  • Could An Asteroid Hit Planet Earth, Again?

    01/30/2008 3:46:10 PM PST · by blam · 53 replies · 146+ views
    Science Daily ^ | 1-20-2008 | Planetary Society
    Could An Asteroid Hit Planet Earth, Again?Asteroid impact on early Earth. Some scientists believe that impacts such as this during the Late Heavy Bombardment period, 4 billion years ago, may have delivered primitive life to Earth. (Credit: Copyright Don Davis) ScienceDaily (Jan. 30, 2008) Earth dodged a bullet today, when asteroid TU24 passed within 540,000 kilometers of our planet, which is just down the street on a galactic scale. Tomorrow, another asteroid 2007 WD5 will zip past Mars at a distance of only 26,000 kilometers away. Will we dodge the bullet the next time a near-Earth object...
  • What We Can Learn From The Biggest Extinction In The History Of Earth

    08/09/2007 7:47:19 PM PDT · by blam · 35 replies · 944+ views
    Science Daily ^ | 8-10-2007 | Stanford University
    Source: Stanford University Date: August 10, 2007 What We Can Learn From The Biggest Extinction In The History Of Earth Science Daily Approximately 250 million years ago, vast numbers of species disappeared from Earth. This mass-extinction event may hold clues to current global carbon cycle changes, according to Jonathan Payne, assistant professor of geological and environmental sciences. Payne, a paleobiologist who joined the Stanford faculty in 2005, studies the Permian-Triassic extinction and the following 4 million years of instability in the global carbon cycle. Jiayong Wei, Payne's colleague, examined a block of early Triassic microbial limestone. (Credit: Jonathan Payne)...
  • When Earth Turned Bad: New Evidence Supports Terrestrial Cause Of End-Permian Mass Extinction

    09/02/2006 11:15:06 AM PDT · by Ernest_at_the_Beach · 67 replies · 2,010+ views
    Science Daily ^ | December 8, 2004 | Christian Koeberl team leader
    Two hundred and fifty million years ago, ninety percent of marine species disappeared and life on land suffered greatly during the world's largest mass extinction. The cause of this great dying has baffled scientists for decades, and recent speculations invoke asteroid impacts as a kill mechanism. Yet a new study published in the December issue of Geology provides strong indications that the extinction cause did not come from the heavens but from Earth itself.An international team of scientists led by Christian Koeberl from the University of Vienna studied rock samples taken from deep in the Carnic Alps of southern Austria...
  • Report questions role of Mexico crater in mass extinction

    03/01/2004 3:54:21 PM PST · by yonif · 14 replies · 453+ views
    WQAD ^ | March 1, 2004 | AP
    Washington-AP -- New research casts doubt on the theory that a single asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs. Scientists have often pointed to a crater in Mexico as the asteroid's impact point. But Princeton University researchers say the impact that caused the crater occurred 300-thousand years before the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 (m) million years ago. A report appears in this week's online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. At least one scientist doubts the group's findings. Richard Norris of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography says the Princeton researchers were working with incorrect site data.

    04/19/2002 12:42:27 PM PDT · by vannrox · 29 replies · 5,783+ views
    Journal of New England Antiquities Research Association, 26, 1-14, 1991 ^ | First version published in 1985 as Quaderno 85/3. | Emilio Spedicato - University of Bergamo
    GALACTIC ENCOUNTERS, APOLLO OBJECTS AND ATLANTIS: A CATASTROPHICAL SCENARIO FOR DISCONTINUITIES IN HUMAN HISTORY Emilio SpedicatoUniversity of Bergamo Acknowledgements The author acknowledges stimulating discussions with Thor Heyerdahl (Colle Micheri, Liguria and Guimar, Tenerife), Laurence Dixon (University of Hertfordhshire), Victor Clube (Oxford University), Emmanuel Anati (Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici), Zdenek Kukal (Central Geological Survey, Prague), Donald Patten (Seattle), Flavio Barbiero (Livorno), Antonino Del Popolo (Bergamo), Lia Mangolini (Milano), Graham Hancock (Leat Mill, Lifton) and Andrew Collins (Leigh on Sea). Third revised version. First version published in 1985 as Quaderno 85/3. First revised version published in 1990 as Quaderno 90/22...
  • The Chilling Regularity of Mass Extinctions

    11/03/2015 4:22:15 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 37 replies
    The Atlantic ^ | 3 Nov 2015 | Adrienne Lafrance
    One thing we know for sure is that conditions on Earth were, shall we say, unpleasant for the dinosaurs at the moment of their demise. Alternate and overlapping theories suggest the great beasts were pelted with monster comets, drowned by mega-tsunamis, scorched with lava, starved by a landscape stripped of vegetation, blasted with the radiation of a dying supernova, cloaked in decades of darkness, and frozen in an ice age. Now, a pair of researchers have new evidence to support a link between cyclical comet showers and mass extinctions, including the one that they believe wiped out the dinosaurs 66...
  • SETI Institute undertakes search for alien signal from Kepler Star KIC 8462852

    10/24/2015 5:31:16 AM PDT · by Momaw Nadon · 13 replies
    PHYS.ORG ^ | October 22, 2015 | Bob King
    "We either caught something shortly after an event like two planets crashing together or alien intelligence," said Dr. Gerald Harp, senior scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, referring to the baffling light variations seen in the Kepler star KIC 8462852. And he and a team from the Institute are working hard at this moment to determine which of the two it is. Beginning last Friday (Oct. 16), the Institute's Allen Telescope Array (ATA) was taken off its normal survey schedule and instead focused on KIC 8462852, one of the 150,000-plus stars studied by NASA's Kepler Mission to...
  • 'Alien Megastructure' Mystery May Soon Be Solved

    10/28/2015 12:56:27 PM PDT · by ETL · 57 replies ^ | October 28, 2015 | Mike Wall - Senior Writer
    The mystery behind a strangely dimming star could soon be solved. Astronomers around the world are keeping a close eye on the star KIC 8462852, which has dimmed dramatically numerous times over the past few years, dropping in brightness by up to 22 percent. These big dips have spurred speculation that the star may be surrounded by some type of alien megastructure a hypothesis that will be put to the test if and when KIC 8462852 dims again. "As long as one of those events occurs again, we should be able to catch it in the act, and then...
  • Why Earth is so much bigger than Mars: Rocky planets formed from 'pebbles'

    10/27/2015 11:47:58 AM PDT · by JimSEA · 9 replies
    Science Daily ^ | 10/27/2015 | Southwest Research Institute
    Using a new process in planetary formation modeling, where planets grow from tiny bodies called "pebbles," Southwest Research Institute scientists can explain why Mars is so much smaller than Earth. This same process also explains the rapid formation of the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn, as reported earlier this year. "This numerical simulation actually reproduces the structure of the inner solar system, with Earth, Venus, and a smaller Mars," said Hal Levison, an Institute scientist at the SwRI Planetary Science Directorate. He is the first author of a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences...
  • The Astronomer Who Wanted to Rearrange the Solar System, Using Nukes

    CalTech astronomer Fritz Zwicky was the first to conceive of dark matter, supernovas and neutron stars. He also had a theory about colonizing the solar system using nuclear bombs. We could terraform other planets, he argued, by pulverizing them and then moving them closer or further from the sun. ...
  • New Horizons aiming toward next target [Kuiper Belt 2014 MU69]

    10/25/2015 6:30:08 PM PDT · by markomalley · 4 replies
    Earthsky ^ | 10/25/15
    The fast-moving New Horizons spacecraft is now approximately 74 million miles (119 million km) beyond the Pluto system, which it swept through in July. Today (October 25, 2015), the spacecraft is carrying out the second in a series of four initial targeting maneuvers ultimately designed to send it toward its next target a small body in the Kuiper Belt about a billion miles beyond Pluto called 2014 MU69. NASA said: The four planned maneuvers will change New Horizons trajectory by approximately 57 meters per second, nudging it toward a prospective close encounter with MU69 on January 1, 2019....
  • The Fermi Paradox

    10/24/2015 1:45:16 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 38 replies
    Wait But Why ^ | Tim Urban
    The Fermi Paradox By Tim Urban Facebook275k Twitter0 Google+0 Pinterest0 Everyone feels something when theyre in a really good starry place on a really good starry night and they look up and see this:Some people stick with the traditional, feeling struck by the epic beauty or blown away by the insane scale of the universe. Personally, I go for the old existential meltdown followed by acting weird for the next half hour. But everyone feels something.Physicist Enrico Fermi felt something tooWhere is everybody?________________A really starry sky seems vastbut all were looking at is our very local neighborhood. On the very...
  • New methane organisms discovered

    10/23/2015 2:17:22 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 23 replies ^ | October 23, 2015 | by Gene Tyson & Provided by: University of Queensland
    ===================================================================================================================== Textbooks on methane-metabolising organisms might have to be rewritten after researchers in a University of Queensland-led international project today (23 October) announced the discovery of two new organisms. Deputy Head of UQ's Australian Centre for Ecogenomics in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences Associate Professor Gene Tyson said these new organisms played an unknown role in greenhouse gas emissions and consumption. "We sampled the microorganisms in the water from a deep coal seam aquifer 600m below the earth's surface in the Surat Basin, near Roma, Queensland, and reconstructed genomes of organisms able to perform methane metabolism," Associate...
  • Astronomers say real-life 'death star' destroying faraway rocky object

    10/22/2015 1:02:05 AM PDT · by WhiskeyX · 20 replies
    Associated Press ^ | October 22, 2015 | Associated Press
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. A white dwarf star in the Constellation Virgo turns out to be a "death star" worthy of "Star Wars." Astronomers announced Wednesday that they have discovered a rocky object coming apart in a death spiral around this distant star. They used NASA's exoplanet-hunting Kepler spacecraft to make the discovery, then followed up with ground observations. "This is something no human has seen before," said Andrew Vanderburg of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the lead author. "We're watching a solar system get destroyed," he said in a statement.
  • Hottest, heaviest touching double star

    10/21/2015 3:19:56 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 49 replies ^ | 10/21/15
    Hottest, heaviest touching double star Astronomers say the two stars might be heading for catastrophe. They will likely either merge to create a single giant star or form a double black hole. This artists impression shows VFTS 352 hottest and most massive double star system known to date where the two components are in contact and sharing material. Image via ESOWe know that many stars in our galaxy are in double or multiple systems, but here are two stars so close they touch. An international team of astronomers said this week (October 21, 2015) that this system known...
  • Did Astronomers Find Evidence of an Alien Civilization? Probably Not. But Still Cool.

    10/15/2015 8:55:50 PM PDT · by Brad from Tennessee · 30 replies
    Slate ^ | October 14, 2015 | By Phil Plait
    The paper doesnt mention aliens, and it doesnt even imply aliens. Not directly, at least. But the astronomers found a star so odd, with behavior so difficult to explain, that its clear something weird is happening there. And some of the astronomers who did the work are now looking into the idea that what theyve found might (might!) be due to aliens. But dont let this idea run away with you. The scientists involved are being very skeptical and approaching this the right way. The star is called KIC 8462852, and its one of more than a hundred thousand stars...
  • The strange star that has serious scientists talking about an alien megastructure

    10/15/2015 12:04:31 PM PDT · by grundle · 64 replies
    Washington Post ^ | October 15, 2015 | Sarah Kaplan
    It was kind of unbelievable that it was real data, said Yale University astronomer Tabetha Boyajian. We were scratching our heads. For any idea that came up there was always something that would argue against it. She was talking to the New Scientist about KIC 8462852, a distant star with a very unusual flickering habit. Something was making the star dim drastically every few years, and she wasnt sure what. Boyajian wrote up a paper on possible explanations for the stars bizarre behavior, and it was published recently in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. But she also...
  • After Intelligent Life Is Discovered

    10/07/2015 8:37:31 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 59 replies
    The Atlantic ^ | October 6, 2015 | Tom Chmielewski
    Heres what happens if astronomers make contact with a civilization on another planet.The false alarm happened in 1997. The Green Bank Radio Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia, was picking up some unusual signalsand Seth Shostak, then the head of the Center for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Research in Mountain View, Caifornia, was convinced that they had come from intelligent life somewhere in the universe. It looked like it might be the real deal, Shostak recalled. Within a few hours, he had a call from The New York Times. But within a day, it became clear that the source...
  • Angry Little Stars Could Produce Life-Friendly Exoplanets

    10/08/2015 3:07:00 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    Discovery News ^ | October 2, 2015 | Ian O'Neill
    Red dwarf stars may be able to support habitable exoplanets after all -- through complex tidal interactions between star and planet, global magnetic fields could evolve, protecting hypothetical life forms from the red dwarfs' ferocious nature. Once identified as the perfect place to search for habitable exoplanets, in recent years, the life-giving reputation of red dwarf stars has taken a downturn. Sure, red dwarfs are abundant in our galaxy and we've spotted many with planetary systems, but the environment surrounding these tiny stars are generally considered to be a bad place for alien life to set up home. For starters,...
  • 10 Years of Haumea

    09/16/2015 4:49:04 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies ^ | David Dickinson
    136108 Haumea one of the strangest worlds of them all was introduced into the solar system menagerie about ten years ago. Discovered by Mike Brown (@Plutokiller extraordinaire) and team in late December 2004 from the Palomar Observatory, Haumea (say HOW-meh) received its formal name on September 17, 2008 along with its dwarf planet designation. Haumea is a fast rotator, with a day equal to about four hours. We know this due to periodic changes in brightness. Haumea also has a high albedo of about 80%, similar to freshly fallen snow. Models suggest that Haumea is about twice as...
  • Eris Moon of Dysnomia

    07/28/2015 1:50:21 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies
    Ask a person what Dysnomia refers to... But in addition to being a condition that affects the memory (where people have a hard time remembering words and names), it is also the only known moon of the distant dwarf planet Eris. In fact, the same team that discovered Eris a decade ago a discovery that threw our entire notion of what constitutes a planet into question also discovered a moon circling it shortly thereafter. ... The actual size of Dysnomia is subject to dispute, and estimates are based largely on the planets albedo relative to Eris. For example,...
  • The Moons of Neptune

    09/09/2015 2:18:40 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 10 replies ^ | September 8, 2015 | Matt Williams
    Neptunes moons are ...all are named for gods of the sea, or for the children of Poseidon (which include Triton, Proteus, Depsina and Thalassa), minor Greek water dieties (Naiad and Nereid) or Nereids , the water nymphs in Greek mythology (Halimede, Galatea, Neso, Sao, Laomedeia and Psamathe). Neptunes Regular Moons are those located closest to the planet and which follow circular prograde orbits that lie in the planets equatorial plane. They are, in order of distance from Neptune: Naiad , Thalassa , Despina, Galatea, Larissa , S/2004 N 1, and Proteus. All but the outer two are within Neptune-synchronous orbit......
  • Is there a Planet X, a massive perturber, hidden beyond Pluto?

    09/05/2015 7:46:28 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 32 replies
    Washington Post ^ | September 3 | Joel Achenbach
    The paper ... noted that a number of large, very remote objects share a similar orbital angle. That's suspicious if you're an astronomer expecting to see a random distribution of objects. The key orbital feature is known, rather obtusely, as the argument of perihelion. We're not shy of complicated orbital concepts (we try to toss around the phrase "obliquity of the ecliptic" whenever possible), but this one is not very easy to explain. "The argument of perihelion is the angle at which an object comes to perihelion with respect to the ecliptic plane," Sheppard said in an e-mail. Mike Brown,...
  • The Dwarf Planet Orcus

    08/29/2015 5:18:21 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 10 replies ^ | Matt Williams
    Orcus was discovered on February 17th, 2004, by Michael Brown of Caltech, Chad Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory, and David Rabinowitz of Yale University. Although discovered using images that were taken in 2004, prerecovery images of Orcus have been identified going back as far as November 8th, 1951. In accordance with the IAUs astronomical conventions, objects with a similar size and orbit to that of Pluto are to be named after underworld deities. Therefore, the discovery team suggested the name Orcus, after the Etruscan god of the underworld and the equivalent of the Roman god Pluto. estimates of Orcus diameter...
  • Astronomers Discover A New Exoplanet Orbiting in Habitable Zone of Two Stars

    08/14/2015 11:59:01 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    Celebrity Cafe ^ | August 14, 2015 | Tina Kim
    If there were life on the planet however, they would witness a sky much like the one shown on the planet Tatooine in the Star Wars film franchise with two blazing suns which orbit each other every 27 days. Kepler-453b is the tenth example of a planet orbiting a binary star system that Kepler has found... Most appear to sport large planets many times the mass of Earth close to their stars, whereas in our solar system the small rocky planets are in the inner regions, while the larger gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn are scattered much further out....
  • Jupiter-like Planet Discovered Outside our Solar System

    08/14/2015 2:15:54 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    SpaceRef ^ | August 13, 2015 | UCLA
    The planet, called 51 Eridani b, is only 20 million years old a mere infant by astronomy standards. (Jupiter, the sun and Earth are all about 4.5 billion years old.) It is the first planet detected by the Gemini Planet Imager, or GPI, which was designed to discover and analyze faint, young planets orbiting bright, nearby stars... Larkin and colleagues at UCLA's Infrared Laboratory for Astrophysics developed and built GPI's highly advanced spectrometer, which enabled the instrument to detect the presence of methane on 51 Eridani b. It revealed that the planet has the strongest concentration of methane ever detected...
  • Perhaps Aliens like Continuous Streaming, Too

    08/02/2015 8:59:19 AM PDT · by null and void · 13 replies
    Scientific Computing ^ | Thu, 07/30/2015 - 10:36am | Suzanne Tracy
    The Voyager Golden Record recordings are now available on Soundcloud, which means that anyone with an Internet connection can experience NASAs time capsule for themselves, knowing that the originals are still traveling through empty space or the heliosphere.The Voyager Golden Records, included aboard both Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977, are phonograph records 12-inch gold-plated copper disks containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life on Earth. They include 115 analog-encoded photographs, spoken greetings from Earth-people in 55 languages, a 12-minute montage of a variety of natural sounds such as those made by surf,...
  • NASA confirms the discovery of a rocky exoplanet just 21 light years away

    07/31/2015 4:43:42 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 17 replies
    The Verge ^ | July 30, 2015 | Sean O'Kane
    Earth just got a new next-door neighbor.Astronomers have found the closest rocky planet outside our solar system using the Spitzer Space telescope. The planet, known as HD 219134b, orbits a star just 21 light years away, and NASA is calling a "potential gold mine of science data." The planet is probably a bad place for life as we know it: its 1.6 times the size of Earth and more than four times the mass. Plus its three-day orbit is too close to its host star for liquid water to form, even though the star is cooler and smaller than our...
  • Astronomers find star with three super-Earths

    07/31/2015 10:02:33 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 29 replies ^ | July 30, 2015 | Staff
    This artist's rendition released by NASA on July 30, 2015 shows one possible appearance for the planet HD 219134b ======================================================================================================================== Astronomers said Thursday they had found a planetary system with three super-Earths orbiting a bright, dwarf starone of them likely a volcanic world of molten rock. The four-planet system had been hiding out in the M-shaped, northern hemisphere constellation Cassiopeia, "just" 21 light years from Earth, a team reported in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. It comprises four planetsone giant and three super-Earths orbiting a star dubbed HD219134. Super-Earths have a mass higher than Earth's but are lighter than gas...
  • What About a Mission to Europa?

    07/27/2015 11:59:52 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 23 replies ^ | on July 27, 2015 | Fraser Cain
    Jupiters moon Europa has the most water in the entire Solar System. If you took all the water on Earth, collected it into a big sphere, it would measure almost 1,400 kilometers across. Europas water would measure nearly 1,800 kilometers.All that water exists in a layer around Europa, encased in a layer of ice. ... According to the plan, a spacecraft will launch in the 2020s, carrying 9 instruments to Europa. Most will be familiar cameras, mass spectrometers, and the like, to study the surface of Europa to a high level of resolution. Over the course of 45 flybys, the...
  • NASAs Kepler Mission Discovers Bigger, Older Cousin to Earth

    07/23/2015 10:17:08 AM PDT · by Eurotwit · 42 replies
    NASA ^ | July 23, 2015 | NASA
    NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet in the habitable zone around a sun-like star. This discovery and the introduction of 11 other new small habitable zone candidate planets mark another milestone in the journey to finding another Earth. The newly discovered Kepler-452b is the smallest planet to date discovered orbiting in the habitable zone -- the area around a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of an orbiting planet -- of a G2-type star, like our sun. The confirmation of Kepler-452b brings the total number of confirmed planets to 1,030. "On the 20th anniversary...
  • Breaking: Discovery of Habitable Earth-Like Planet Announced

    07/23/2015 11:38:14 AM PDT · by ckilmer · 80 replies ^ | 07/23/15 12:20pm | Robin Seemangal
    Breaking: Discovery of ‘Habitable’ Earth-Like Planet Announced The Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute and planet hunters from The National Aeronautics and Space Administration have made a startling discovery while exploring the Milky Way Galaxy By Robin Seemangal | 07/23/15 12:20pm  Comment Artist’s concept depicts the earth-like planet Kepler-452b (NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle) The SETI Institute and NASA have confirmed the discovery of Kepler 452b, the most Earth-like planet ever encountered. Located in the Goldilocks zone of its host star, this planet would have “just the right” conditions to support liquid water and possibly even life. This extraordinary world was spotted by...
  • Astronomers Spot a Intriguing 5-Star Multiple System

    07/23/2015 10:54:10 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 12 replies ^ | on July 23, 2015 | David Dickinson
    An interesting multiple star discovery turned up in the ongoing hunt for exoplanetary systems. The discovery was announced by Marcus Lohr of Open University early this month at the National Astronomy Meeting that was held at Venue Cymru in Llandudno, Wales. The discovery involves as many as five stars in a single stellar system, orbiting in a complex configuration. The name of the system, 1SWASP J093010.78+533859.5, is a phone number-style designation related to the SuperWASP exoplanet hunting transit survey involved with the discovery. The lengthy numerical designation denotes the systems position in the sky in right ascension and declination in...
  • Stephen Hawking announces $100 million hunt for alien life

    07/20/2015 5:36:42 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 50 replies
    The Washington Post's Speaking of Science ^ | July 20, 2015 | Rachel Feltman
    On Monday, famed physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian tycoon Yuri Milner held a news conference in London to announce their new project: injecting $100 million and a whole lot of brain power into the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, an endeavor they're calling Breakthrough Listen. "We believe that life arose spontaneously on Earth," Hawking said at Monday's news conference, "So in an infinite universe, there must be other occurrences of life." Geoffrey Marcy, a University of California, Berkeley, astronomer who found most of our first exoplanets, also spoke at the event as part of the group's brain trust....
  • A $100 Million Infusion for SETI Research (two parts: Breakthrough Listen and Breakthrough MESSAGE)

    07/20/2015 5:02:44 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 13 replies
    Centauri Dreams ^ | 7/20/15 | Paul Gilster
    A $100 Million Infusion for SETI Researchby Paul Gilster on July 20, 2015 SETI received a much needed boost this morning as Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner, along with physicist Stephen Hawking and a panel including Frank Drake, Ann Druyan, Martin Rees and Geoff Marcy announced a $100 million pair of initiatives to reinvigorate the search. The first of these, Breakthrough Listen, dramatically upgrades existing search methods, while Breakthrough Message will fund an international competition to create the kind of messages we might one day send to other stars, although the intention is also to provoke the necessary discussion and debate...
  • Search for extraterrestrial intelligence gets a $100-million boost

    07/20/2015 3:24:26 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 23 replies
    Nature ^ | 7/20/15 | Zeeya Merali
    Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announces most comprehensive hunt for alien life.You could say that the silence has been deafening. Since its beginnings more than half a century ago, the dedicated search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) has failed to detect the presence of alien civilizations. But at Londons Royal Society today (20 July), Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced a shot in the arm for SETI: a US$100-million decadal project to provide the most comprehensive hunt for alien communications so far. The initiative, called Breakthrough Listen, will see radio telescopes at Green Bank in West Virginia, the Parkes Observatory in Australia, and...
  • Russian Entrepreneur Pledges $100 Million in Search for Extraterrestrial Life

    07/20/2015 3:15:30 PM PDT · by lbryce · 12 replies
    .Entrepreneur ^ | July 20, 2015 | Nina Zipkin
    Is there anyone else out there in the universe? The endeavor to answer that eternal question got a serious shot in the arm this week thanks to Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner. At the Royal Society in London, the billionaire announced the launch of Breakthrough Listen, a 10-year, $100 million initiative to search for signs of extraterrestrial life. Related: The Power of Planning: NASA's Pluto Flyby Was Epic and Amazing Aided by the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in W. Va., the CSIRO Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia and the Lick Telescope in at the Lick Observatory in...
  • Jupiter twin discovered around solar twin

    07/15/2015 1:51:26 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 8 replies
    Phys. Org ^ | 07-15-15 | Provided by: ESO
    Artist's impression showing a newly discovered Jupiter twin gas giant orbiting the solar twin star, HIP 11915. The planet is of a very similar mass to Jupiter and orbits at the same distance from its star as Jupiter does from the Sun. This, together with HIP 11915's Sun-like composition, hints at the possibility of the system of planets orbiting HIP 11915 bearing a resemblance to our own Solar System, with smaller rocky planets orbiting closer to the host star. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser ============================================================================================ Astronomers have used the ESO 3.6-metre telescope to identify a planet just like Jupiter orbiting at the...
  • Is Kapteyn B Not to Be? [Exo-planet oops]

    07/07/2015 6:28:18 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 5 replies ^ | on July 7, 2015 | David Dickinson
    In 2014, we reported on an exciting new discovery of two new exoplanets orbiting Kapteyns Star. The current number of exoplanet discoveries as of July 2015 sits at 1,932 and counting. An M-class red dwarf, Kapteyns Star is relatively nearby at only 13 light years distant. The planetary discovery consisted of a world five times the mass of the Earth in a 48 day orbit (Kapteyn b), and a world seven times the mass of the Earth in a 122 day orbit (Kapteyn c). The discovery was hailed as an example of an ancientpossibly over 11 billion years oldsystem with...
  • NASA's Latest Pluto Images Actually Show a Planet

    07/06/2015 6:50:08 PM PDT · by lbryce · 51 replies
    Endgadget ^ | July 6, 2015 | John fingas
    At last, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is sending back images of Pluto that look (slightly) better than brown blobs or pixel art. The probe has delivered a new batch of images from between 7.8 million to 9.2 million miles away, or close enough that the dwarf planet is starting to reveal some meaningful detail. There's still no explanation for those giant spots, but it's evident that there's a "continuous swath" of dark ground near the equator. And if you'd like pictures that are better than fuzzy, you might not have to hold out for too much longer. New Horizons...
  • Alien Life On Philae Comet, Scientists Say

    07/06/2015 5:10:49 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 59 replies
    Sky News ^ | July 6, 2015
    Experts discover dark material is being constantly replenished and say: "Something must be doing that at a fairly prolific rate."Evidence of alien life is "unequivocal" on the comet carrying the Philae probe through space, two leading astronomers have said. The experts say the most likely explanation for certain features of the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet, such as its organic-rich black crust, is the presence of living organisms beneath an icy surface. Rosetta, the European spacecraft orbiting the comet, is also said to have picked up strange "clusters" of organic material that resemble viral particles. But neither Rosetta nor its lander probe, Philae,...
  • Alien rights-When we meet, it wont be a friendly encounter nor a conquest: it'll be a gold rush

    06/16/2015 12:54:55 AM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 24 replies
    Aeon Blog ^ | June 11, 2015 | Lizzie Wade, Latin America correspondent for Science
    It wasnt the Martians fault their planet died. If they existed once Martians were likely microbes, living in a world much like our own, warmed by an atmosphere and crisscrossed by waterways. But Mars began to lose that atmosphere, perhaps because its gravity wasnt strong enough to hold onto it after an asteroid impact, or perhaps it was gradually blown away by solar winds. The cause is still mysterious, but the ending is clear: Marss liquid water dried up or froze into ice caps, leaving life without its most precious resource. Any Martians would have been victims of...
  • We're Pumped Up About Visiting Pluto After Seeing This NASA Video

    06/13/2015 7:28:00 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 29 replies
    Popular Science TV ^ | June 12th, 2015 | Sarah Fecht
    In July, New Horizons crosses the next great frontier in our solar system. Mankind is about to visit one of the strangest places in our solar system. Out beyond Neptune, the Kuiper belt is home to hordes of cold, lumpy worlds -- some of which are large enough to have their own moons, but none of which we've seen up-close before. That's going to change this summer, when NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flies by "the king of the Kuiper belt": Pluto. It's no longer considered a planet, but Pluto is still an important member of our solar system, and one...
  • Pluto a Planet Again? It May Happen This Year

    06/08/2015 10:44:57 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 26 replies
    The Crux, Discover 'blogs ^ | February 25, 2015 | David A. Weintraub, Vanderbilt University
    Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt, and NASA's Dawn spacecraft will arrive there on March 6. Pluto is the largest object in the Kuiper belt, and NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will arrive there on July 15... The efforts of a very small clique of Pluto-haters within the International Astronomical Union (IAU) plutoed Pluto in 2006. Of the approximately 10,000 internationally registered members of the IAU in 2006, only 237 voted in favor of the resolution redefining Pluto as a "dwarf planet" while 157 voted against; the other 9,500 members were not present... Unlike the larger planets, however,...