Keyword: xplanets

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  • Gamma Ray Bursts Limit The Habitability of Certain Galaxies, Says Study

    12/11/2014 2:59:54 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 27 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on December 11, 2014 | by Vanessa Janek
    In fact, according to the authors of the new paper, there is a 90% chance that a GRB powerful enough to destroy Earth’s ozone layer occurred in our stellar neighborhood some time in the last 5 billion years, and a 50% chance that such an event occurred within the last half billion years. These odds indicate a possible trigger for the second worst mass extinction in Earth’s history: the Ordovician Extinction. This great decimation occurred 440-450 million years ago and led to the death of more than 80% of all species.
  • A New Physics Theory of Life

    12/10/2014 2:18:28 PM PST · by LibWhacker · 45 replies
    Quanta Magazine ^ | 1/22/14 | Natalie Wolchover
    A New Physics Theory of Life Katherine Taylor for Quanta MagazineJeremy England, a 31-year-old physicist at MIT, thinks he has found the underlying physics driving the origin and evolution of life. By: Natalie WolchoverJanuary 22, 2014 Comments (151) print Why does life exist?Popular hypotheses credit a primordial soup, a bolt of lightning and a colossal stroke of luck. But if a provocative new theory is correct, luck may have little to do with it. Instead, according to the physicist proposing the idea, the origin and subsequent evolution of life follow from the fundamental laws of nature and “should be as...
  • Martian meteorite may contain evidence of extraterrestrial life

    12/03/2014 6:49:23 AM PST · by etl lll · 64 replies
    cnet.com ^ | Dec 2, 2014 | Michelle Starr
    A meteorite from Mars that landed on Earth in 2011 contains a carbon compound that is biological in origin. (snip) "We cannot and do not want to entirely exclude the possibility that organic carbon within Tissint may be of abiotic origin," Lin wrote, meaning the carbon maybe physical in origin rather than organic -- devoid of life.7 "It could be possible that the organic carbon originated from impacts of carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. However, it is not easy to conceive bywhich processes chondritic carbon could have been selectively extracted from the impacting carbonaceous chondrites, selectively removed from the soil and later...
  • Partial Ingredients For DNA And Protein Found Around Star

    12/31/2005 1:32:58 AM PST · by neverdem · 212 replies · 2,444+ views
    NASA via ScienceDaily.com ^ | 2005-12-30 | NA
    Partial Ingredients For DNA And Protein Found Around Star NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered some of life's most basic ingredients in the dust swirling around a young star. The ingredients - gaseous precursors to DNA and protein - were detected in the star's terrestrial planet zone, a region where rocky planets such as Earth are thought to be born. The findings represent the first time that these gases, called acetylene and hydrogen cyanide, have been found in a terrestrial planet zone outside of our own. "This infant system might look a lot like ours did billions of years ago,...
  • Chaotic Wombs May Birth Wrong-way Planets

    11/17/2014 9:39:21 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 9 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on November 17, 2014 | Shannon Hall
    We’ve heard it time and time again. When it comes to new exoplanet findings, our conventional wisdom never holds. So the surprise that a batch of extrasolar planets are moving retrograde, orbiting in directions opposite to the way their stars are spinning, shouldn’t come as a surprise. Then again, maybe it should. These discoveries turned the long-standing view of how planets form on its head. Now Eduard Vorobyov at the University of Vienna and colleagues argue that chaotic conditions in the planetary system’s gaseous wombs may be to blame. Theorists have long assumed that stars and their planetary companions assemble...
  • NASA Builds A Time-Machine Telescope 100 Times As Powerful As The Hubble

    11/18/2014 2:32:23 PM PST · by zeestephen · 67 replies
    MSN.com ^ | 18 November 2014 | Eric Niler
    Inside a very big and very clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., nearly 30 workers dressed in white protective suits, goggles and blue booties cluster around the parts of a time machine. These parts — gold-covered mirrors, tennis-court-size sun shields, delicate infrared cameras — are slowly being put together to become the James Webb Space Telescope.
  • The Most Stunning View Ever of Planets Being Born

    11/10/2014 10:49:29 AM PST · by Red Badger · 19 replies
    www.thedailybeast.com ^ | 11/09/2014 | Matthew R. Francis
    We can’t see the birth of our own solar system, but an incredible new telescopic image is giving us hints about how planets are born. Humans are cosmic mayflies. Our lives come and go quickly, only offering us glimpses of the slow evolution of the Universe. Human history is measured in centuries, while the birth and death of stars and planets take place over millions and billions of years. For that reason, we will never see the formation of another solar system unfold before our eyes. Instead, astronomers hope to observe planet formation in all its stages, each marking a...
  • Why Scientists Think Completely Unclassifiable and Undiscovered Life Forms Exist

    11/10/2014 1:52:15 PM PST · by 2ndDivisionVet · 22 replies
    Motherboard ^ | November 7, 2014 | Jason Koebler
    In high school biology, we are taught that there are three types of life: eukaryotes (that's us, and most everything else we often think of as life), bacteria, and archaea (extremophiles and other very primitive life forms). But some scientists are pretty sure that there are entirely different, undiscovered lifeforms that could be prevalent on Earth, and they remain undescribed because we're not good at looking for them. In a new paper published in Science, Tanja Woyke and Edward Rubin of the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute note that "there are reasons to believe that current approaches [to discovering...
  • Lost in Space: Half of All Stars Are Rogues Between Galaxies

    11/07/2014 1:26:34 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    space.com ^ | Charles Q. Choi
    A star mystery solved? These newfound stars could help solve the so-called "photon underproduction crisis," which suggests that an extraordinary amount of ultraviolet light appears to be missing from the universe. The intergalactic stars could also help address what is known as the "missing baryon problem." Baryons are a class of subatomic particles that includes the protons and neutrons that make up the hearts of atoms inside normal matter. Theories of the formation and evolution of the universe predict there should be far more baryons than scientists currently see. The baryons that astronomers have accounted for in the local cosmic...
  • Vatican astronomer: Just a matter of time until life found in universe

    09/21/2014 2:45:14 PM PDT · by NYer · 78 replies
    cns ^ | September 19, 2014 | Dennis Sadowski
    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, the new president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation, has no doubt that life exists elsewhere in the universe and that when humanity discovers it, the news will come as no big surprise. He suggested that the likely discovery -- whether next month or a millennium from now -- will be received much the way that news of planets orbiting far off stars has filtered in since the 1990s. "The general public is going to be, 'Oh, I knew that. I knew it was going to be there,'" Brother Consolmagno told Catholic News...
  • Sea plankton 'found living outside International Space Station'

    08/22/2014 6:19:50 AM PDT · by shove_it · 52 replies
    Telegraph ^ | 21 Aug 2014 | Sarah Knapton,
    Sea plankton has been discovered living on the outside of the International Space Station, Russian cosmonauts have claimed. Scientists on board the ISS are reported to have discovered living organisms when taking samples from windows. Head of the Russian ISS orbital mission Vladimir Solovyev said the results of the experiment “are absolutely unique”. Solovyev told the Russian Itar-Tass news agency that the tiny marine life-forms were not native to the launch site in Kazakhstan. “Plankton in these stages of development could be found on the surface of the oceans,” he said. “This is not typical for Baikonur [in Kazakhstan]. It...
  • Weak supernova might have left zombie star

    08/07/2014 10:32:03 AM PDT · by ConservingFreedom · 13 replies
    EarthSky ^ | Aug 07, 2014 | Science Wire, Space
    Astronomers are scrutinizing a star system in a distant galaxy that exploded, possibly leaving behind a zombie star. They say their study of this system will help them understand supernova explosions, which are an important piece of the cosmic puzzle, used to help measure distances in vast space and the expansion of the universe. Standard Type Ia supernovae occur when a white dwarf draws enough material from a companion star onto itself to raise its own core temperature, ultimately creating a runaway nuclear reaction that causes the white dwarf to explode as a supernova. In such cases, the explosion typically...
  • All (known) Bodies in our Solar System Larger than 200 Miles in Diameter (88 in all) - (pic)

    07/27/2014 11:23:33 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 34 replies
  • Public gets to nominate and vote on exoplanet names

    07/24/2014 6:55:59 AM PDT · by null and void · 15 replies
    Electronic Products ^ | 07/14/2014 | Max_Teodorescu
    Sorry, no pop-culture referencesAstronomers have amassed such a gigantic database of identifiable celestial bodies, that naming these objects has largely fallen wayside in favor of efficiency. Devoting time and creative energy cooking up a unique name for a dot in the sky is not worth NASA’s (or other space agencies) time, considering the millions of stars in the observable universe. Exoplanets, planets orbiting a star other than our own, are a different story. Our spacecrafts and telescopes have only spotted about 1800 of them, including the first potentially habitable Earth-sized planet, a planet anticlimactically named Kepler-186F. This is all about...
  • An Earth-sized planet that might hold liquid water

    07/08/2014 4:03:30 PM PDT · by robowombat · 22 replies
    Space Daily ^ | Apr 27, 2014
    An Earth-sized planet that might hold liquid water by Staff Writers Ann Arbor MI (SPX) Apr 27, 2014 An artist's conception of the newly discovered exoplanet Kepler-186f orbiting the red dwarf star Kepler-186. The planet is the first Earth-sized world to be found orbiting a star at a distance that would allow it to harbor liquid water, a necessary ingredient for life as we know it. Image courtesy NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle. In a dim and faraway solar system, astronomers have for the first time discovered a rocky, Earth-sized planet that might hold liquid water-a necessary ingredient for life as we know...
  • Astronomy: Planets in chaos. Standard ideas of Planet formation are being demolished

    07/08/2014 2:09:26 PM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 19 replies
    NATURE ^ | 07/02/2014 | Ann Finkbeiner
    The discovery of thousands of star systems wildly different from our own has demolished ideas about how planets form. Astronomers are searching for a whole new theory. Not so long ago — as recently as the mid-1990s, in fact — there was a theory so beautiful that astronomers thought it simply had to be true. They gave it a rather pedestrian name: the core-accretion theory. But its beauty lay in how it used just a few basic principles of physics and chemistry to account for every major feature of our Solar System. It explained why all the planets orbit the...
  • Mars' minerals could be microbe made

    06/19/2014 4:35:53 PM PDT · by JimSEA · 14 replies
    ABC Science ^ | 5/23/2014 | Stuart Gary
    Friday, 23 May 2014 Stuart Gary ABC New Australian research suggests Martian minerals may have formed from biological rather than geological origins. The findings, reported in the journal Geology, indicate the mineral stevensite, which is found on both Earth and Mars, can be created either in hot, highly alkaline volcanic lakes, or by mineralisation in living microbes. Stevensite is a magnesium-silicate mineral, used a Nubian beauty treatment for several centuries.
  • Where To Go After Pluto? Hubble Seeks The Next Target For New Horizons

    06/17/2014 8:24:26 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | June 17, 2014 | Elizabeth Howell on
    Hubble Space Telescope (in Earth orbit) is scoping out icy objects beyond Pluto. What astronomers are doing now is a “pilot observation” where the space telescope looks at a spot in the constellation Sagittarius. Controllers will try to turn the telescope at the same rate as what a KBO would be orbiting around the sun. If the method works, stars will look like streaks and the KBOs will look like “pinpoint objects”, NASA stated. “If the test observation identifies at least two KBOs of a specified brightness it will demonstrate statistically that Hubble has a chance of finding an appropriate...
  • New 'Gas Dwarf' Class of Alien Planets Revealed

    06/02/2014 1:51:22 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 22 replies
    NBC ^ | Nola Taylor Redd, SPACE.com
    These gas-dwarf alien planets have thick atmospheres like their larger gas-giant cousins but never quite made it to the size of the planetary behemoths found in the Earth's the outer solar system, researchers said. The team studied more than 600 planets discovered by NASA's Kepler space telescope and compared their sizes to the amount of elements other than hydrogen and helium contained in their star — a characteristic known as metallicity. "We were particularly interested in probing the planetary regime smaller than four times the size of Earth, because it includes three-fourths of the planets found by Kepler," lead author...
  • Astronomers find Sun's 'long-lost brother,' pave way for family reunion

    05/09/2014 1:21:14 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 8 replies
    Phys.Org ^ | 05-09-2014 | Provided by University of Texas at Austin
    (Phys.org) —A team of researchers led by astronomer Ivan Ramirez of The University of Texas at Austin has identified the first "sibling" of the sun—a star almost certainly born from the same cloud of gas and dust as our star. Ramirez's methods will help astronomers find other solar siblings, which could lead to an understanding of how and where our sun formed, and how our solar system became hospitable for life. The work appears in the June 1 issue of The Astrophysical Journal. "We want to know where we were born," Ramirez said. "If we can figure out in what...
  • The Shocking Behavior of a Speedy Star

    04/29/2014 5:20:41 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    Scientific Computing ^ | Friday, April 25, 2014 | NASA
    Roguish runaway stars can have a big impact on their surroundings as they plunge through the Milky Way galaxy. Their high-speed encounters shock the galaxy, creating arcs, as seen in this newly released image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. In this case, the speedster star is known as Kappa Cassiopeiae, or HD 2905 to astronomers. It is a massive, hot supergiant moving at around 2.5 million mph relative to its neighbors (1,100 kilometers per second). But what really makes the star stand out in this image is the surrounding, streaky red glow of material in its path. Such structures are...
  • It’s Freezing on the Surface of this Nearby Star-like Object Read more:

    04/29/2014 1:34:18 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 26 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | April 29, 2014 | Shannon Hall on
    A brown dwarf that’s as frosty as the Earth’s North Pole has been discovered lurking incredibly close to our Solar System. Astronomer Keven Luhman from Pennsylvania State University used NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and the Spitzer Space Telescope to pinpoint the object’s temperature and distance. This is the coldest brown dwarf found so far, and it’s a mere 7.2 light-years away, making it the seventh closest star-like object to the Sun. “It is very exciting to discover a new neighbor of our Solar System that is so close,” said Luhman in a press release. Brown dwarfs emerge when...
  • Satellite View of the Americas

    04/27/2014 11:04:15 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    Scientific Computing ^ | Thursday, April 24, 2014 | unattributed
    NOAA's GOES-East satellite captured this stunning view of the Americas on Earth Day, April 22, 2014 at 11:45 UTC/7:45 a.m. EDT. The data from GOES-East was made into an image by the NASA/NOAA GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. In North America, clouds associated with a cold front stretch from Montreal, Canada, south through the Tennessee Valley, and southwest to southern Texas bringing rain east of the front. A low pressure area in the Pacific Northwest is bringing rainfall in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, stretching into the upper Midwest, according to NOAA's National Weather Service. That...
  • NASA's Kepler Discovers First Earth-Size Planet In The 'Habitable Zone' of Another Star

    04/17/2014 5:09:38 PM PDT · by Dallas59 · 16 replies
    NASA ^ | 4/17/2014 | NASA
    Using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the "habitable zone" -- the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun. While planets have previously been found in the habitable zone, they are all at least 40 percent larger in size than Earth and understanding their makeup is challenging. Kepler-186f is more reminiscent of Earth. "The discovery of Kepler-186f...
  • Found! First Earth-Size Planet That Could Support Life

    04/17/2014 3:36:11 PM PDT · by Gettin Betta · 42 replies
    space.com ^ | April 17, 2014 | Miriam Kramer
    For the first time, scientists have discovered an Earth-size alien planet in the habitable zone of its host star, an "Earth cousin" that just might have liquid water and the right conditions for life.
  • LISTEN LIVE NOW: Kepler-186F Discovery, 1st Earth-Size & Habitable Exoplanet

    04/17/2014 11:51:49 AM PDT · by lbryce · 33 replies
    Space.com ^ | April 17, 2014 | Staff
    NASA will hold a live news teleconference on Thursday, April 17, at 2 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. PT/1800 GMT) to unveil a new discover by the Kepler space telescope, which hunts alien planets beyond our solar system. Full Story: Found! First Earth-Size Planet That Could Support Life, Gallery Video: New Earth-Size Planet Could Have Water Complete Coverage Top Story: Found! First Earth-Size Planet That Could Support Life Video: New Earth-Size Planet Could Have Water Earth-Size Planet Kepler-186f, a Possibly Habitable Alien World (Gallery) Exoplanet Kepler-186f: Earth-Size World Could Support Oceans and Life (Infographic) From SETI Astronomer Seth Shostak: Cousin of...
  • Mystery object in Saturn's ring may be a new baby moon: Peggy

    04/16/2014 1:38:33 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 31 replies
    L A Times ^ | April 15, 2014, 6:30 a.m. | By Karen Kaplan
    The moons that orbit Saturn may be increasing by one -- an icy, pint-sized object that astronomers have named “Peggy.” NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has spotted evidence that a mysterious object measuring perhaps half a mile across is disturbing the outer edge of Saturn’s large, bright A ring. The object’s gravity seems to have roughed up the ring’s usually smooth profile. As a result, a stretch of the A ring that measures 750 miles long and 6 miles wide is now about 20% brighter than it would typically appear. The fuzzy blob on the A ring’s edge was imaged by Cassini’s...
  • First Exomoon Candidate is discovered by the astronomers

    04/13/2014 3:16:07 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    FA Daily ^ | April 12, 2014 | www.sci-news.com [Source]
    First Exomoon Candidate is discovered by the astronomers The scientists used an innovative technique called gravitational microlensing. The technique takes advantage of chance alignments between stars: when a foreground star passes between us and a more distant star, the closer star can act like a magnifying glass to focus and brighten the light of the more distant one. These brightening events usually last about a month. If the foreground star has a planet circling around it, the planet will act as a second lens to brighten or dim the light even more. By carefully scrutinizing these brightening events, scientists can...
  • Alien Species Living In The Inner Milky Way Could Be In Danger

    06/26/2012 12:27:17 AM PDT · by Windflier · 58 replies
    Message To Eagle ^ | 23 March 2012 | Staff
    Few people doubt there is intelligent alien life in the Milky Way galaxy, but where can we expect to find it? Astronomers think that the inner sector of the Milky Way Galaxy may be the most likely to support habitable worlds. Unfortunately some of these places are also most dangerous to all life-forms. According to Michael Gowanlock of NASA's Astrobiology Institute, and his Trent University colleagues David Patton and Sabine McConnel, habitability in the Milky Way can be based on three factors: supernova rates, metallicity (the abundance of heavy elements, used as a proxy for planet formation) and the time...
  • Sun May Still Have Low-Mass Solar Companion, Say Astrophysicists Searching NASA WISE Mission Data

    04/10/2014 1:25:51 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 44 replies
    Forbes ^ | 3/31/2013 | Bruce Dorminey
    Our sun may indeed have a far-flung gravitationally-bound companion — just not with the size or orbit that could have triggered periodicity in earth’s paleontological record, say astrophysicists now actively searching data from NASA’s WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) spacecraft. For decades astronomers and paleontologists have debated whether our sun has a stellar mass M-dwarf companion dubbed “Nemesis” that could have caused a 26 million-year periodicity in earth’s cometary impact record. Such a small M-dwarf star has long been ruled out by WISE data, since observers would surely have spotted an object larger than roughly five Jupiter masses. However, John...
  • NEOWISE Spots a “Weirdo” Comet

    04/10/2014 1:07:22 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    Universe Today ^ | February 28, 2014 | Jason Major
    NASA’s NEOWISE mission — formerly known as just WISE — has identified the first comet of its new near-Earth object hunting career… and, according to mission scientists, it’s a “weirdo.” To date several new asteroids have already been found by NEOWISE, and on February 14, 2014, it spotted its first comet. “We are so pleased to have discovered this frozen visitor from the outermost reaches of our solar system,” said Amy Mainzer, NEOWISE principal investigator at JPL. “This comet is a weirdo — it is in a retrograde orbit, meaning that it orbits the sun in the opposite sense from...
  • Three New "Plutos"? Possible Dwarf Planets Found

    08/16/2011 12:47:34 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 21 replies
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com ^ | Published August 11, 2011 | Rachel Kaufman
    Small objects could be rounded worlds, based on likely sizes, experts say. Three relatively bright space rocks recently found in Pluto's neighborhood may be new members of the dwarf planet family, astronomers say. The objects were discovered in a little studied section of the Kuiper belt, a region of the solar system that starts beyond the orbit of Neptune and extends 5.1 billion miles (8.2 billion kilometers) from the sun. Astronomer Scott Sheppard, of the Carnegie Institute of Washington, and colleagues found the bodies using the 1.3-meter Warsaw University Telescope at Las Campanas in Chile. The region of the Kuiper...
  • Is The Vatican Hiding Aliens?

    04/08/2014 12:41:31 PM PDT · by NKP_Vet · 75 replies
    http://www.catholicleague.org ^ | March 8, 2014 | Bill Donohue
    Bill Donohue comments on last night’s show, “Unsealed: Alien Files,” that aired on the Science Channel: The program speculates that “new evidence may prove the Vatican is hiding actual aliens from the public.” Either that or the channel will rename itself the Sci-fi Channel. The priest who directs the Vatican observatory, Dr. Jose Funes, was interviewed for the program, and he made the rather unexceptional remark that the universe is so huge that “it would be possible that life could evolve the way we know it on Earth.” This is soon followed by a voiceover that says, “Vatican officials have...
  • Hidden Ocean Found on Saturn's Icy Moon Enceladus, Could Potentially Support Life

    04/03/2014 3:01:44 PM PDT · by mandaladon · 11 replies
    Yahoo News ^ | 3 Apr 2014 | Mike Wall
    The Saturn moon Enceladus harbors a big ocean of liquid water beneath its icy crust that may be capable of supporting life as we know it, a new study reports. The water ocean on Enceladus is about 6 miles (10 kilometers) deep and lies beneath a shell of ice 19 to 25 miles (30 to 40 km) thick, researchers said. Further, it's in direct contact with a rocky seafloor, theoretically making possible all kinds of complex chemical reactions — such as, perhaps, the kind that led to the rise of life on Earth. "The main implication is that there are...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known Orbit in the Solar System

    04/01/2014 5:37:49 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | March 31, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What object has the furthest known orbit in our Solar System? In terms of how close it will ever get to the Sun, the new answer is 2012 VP113, an object currently over twice the distance of Pluto from the Sun. Pictured above is a series of discovery images taken with the Dark Energy Camera attached to the NOAO's Blanco 4-meter Telescope in Chile in 2012 and released last week. The distant object, seen moving on the lower right, is thought to be a dwarf planet like Pluto. Previously, the furthest known dwarf planet was Sedna, discovered in 2003....
  • Dwarf planet discovery hints at a hidden Super Earth in solar system

    03/29/2014 1:03:08 AM PDT · by chessplayer · 48 replies
    Astronomers have increased the size of the observable solar system after spotting a 450-km wide object orbiting the sun. The lump of ice and rock circles the sun at a greater distance than any known object, and never gets closer than 12bn kilometres – 80 times the distance from Earth to the sun. If its size is confirmed it could qualify as a dwarf planet in the same category as Pluto. Though exciting in its own right, the discovery raises a more tantalising prospect for many astronomers: that a "Super Earth" up to 10 times the mass of our planet...
  • Media Advisory: Press Conference in Brazil to Announce Discovery in Outer Solar System

    03/26/2014 7:59:37 AM PDT · by SpinnerWebb · 92 replies
    European Southern Observatory ^ | 25 March 2014 | ann14021
    An international team of astronomers, led by Felipe Braga-Ribas (Observatório Nacional/MCTI, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), has used telescopes at seven locations in South America, including the 1.54-metre Danish and TRAPPIST telescopes at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile, to make a surprise discovery in the outer Solar System. This unexpected result raises several unanswered questions and is expected to provoke much debate. A press conference will be held in Brazil to present the new results and allow opportunities for questions. Note that all information regarding these findings is under strict embargo until 19:00 CET (15:00 BRT) on Wednesday 26 March...
  • Scientists Nickname Planet-Like Object 'Biden'

    03/27/2014 1:16:15 PM PDT · by bestintxas · 56 replies
    newsmax ^ | 3/27/14 | c coren
    It's official name is "2012 VP-113." But astronomers have nicknamed the newly discovered planet-like object on the edge of the solar system "Biden." Smiling Joe, nick-named for Vice President Joe Biden, is 7 billion miles away from the sun and has its own celestial body, The Washington Post reported. Biden is quite small at 280 miles in diameter, and scientists say it could be dwarf planet. Pluto, which was deemed a dwarf planet in 2006 has a diameter of 1,430 miles. By contrast, Earth is 7,900 miles across. It has a temperature of minus 430 degrees Fahrenheit and is likely...
  • New planet nicknamed after Biden

    03/26/2014 10:15:21 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 41 replies
    The Hill's Briefing Room ^ | March 26, 2014 | Justin Sink
    Astronomers have nicknamed a new dwarf planet circling the sun at the outer edges of the solar system after Vice President Joe Biden. According to Nature, a leading scientific journal, the object's official designation is 2012 VP113. But the team studying its orbit around the sun colloquially refer to the planet as just "VP" or "Biden," after the sitting vice president. The object won't carry an official title until scientists collect more data. After determining its orbit, they'll submit a formal name to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for consideration. The Biden dwarf is the second such object to be...
  • A planet past Pluto? Astronomers redefine the solar system's edge

    03/26/2014 1:03:22 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 53 replies
    FoxNews.com ^ | March 26, 2014/
    Scientists at the Carnegie Carnegie Institution for Science announced Wednesday the discovery of a new cosmic neighbor -- a distant dwarf planet named 2012 VP113 that was found spinning in the depths of space well past Pluto. Its existence suggests there may be another actual planet out there, they said, a rogue giant ten times bigger than Earth orbiting in the distant blackness
  • Asteroid Found with Rings! First-of-Its-Kind Discovery Stuns Astronomers

    03/26/2014 12:05:41 PM PDT · by 12th_Monkey · 51 replies
    Space.com ^ | March 26, 2014 | Nola Taylor Redd
    Scientists have made a stunning discovery in the outer realm of the solar system — an asteroid with its own set of rings that orbits the sun between Saturn and Uranus. The space rock is the first non-planetary object ever found to have its own ring system, researchers say. The pair of space rock rings encircle the asteroid Chariklo. They were most likely formed after a collision scattered debris around the asteroid, according to a new study unveiled today (March 27). The asteroid rings also suggests the presence of a still-undiscovered moon around Chariklo that's keeping them stable, researchers said....
  • Newfound pink world lurks at solar system fringes

    03/26/2014 12:06:45 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 45 replies
    www.utsandiego.com ^ | 03-26-2014 | By ALICIA CHANG
    <p>LOS ANGELES (AP) — Peering into the far reaches of the solar system, astronomers have spied a pink frozen world 7½ billion miles from the sun.</p> <p>It's the second such object to be discovered in a region of space beyond Pluto long considered a celestial wasteland. Until now, the lone known resident in this part of the solar system was an oddball dwarf planet spotted in 2003 named Sedna after the mythological Inuit goddess who created the sea creatures of the Arctic.</p>
  • Has Nasa found a new Earth? Astronomer discovers first same-sized planet in a 'Goldilocks zone' ...

    03/25/2014 10:32:40 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 75 replies
    www.dailymail.co.uk ^ | PUBLISHED: 08:57 EST, 24 March 2014 | UPDATED: 10:03 EST, 24 March 2014 | By Victoria Woollaston
    The host star hasn’t been named but was identified as an M1 dwarf M dwarfs make up 70% of stars in the galaxy and are smaller than our sun Nasa astronomers found a total of five planets orbiting this unnamed host The outermost planet sits in the star’s habitable zone and may have liquid water on its surface This so-called goldilocks planet is believed to be 1.1 times the size of Earth Until now, the most Earth-like planet was Kepler-62f - 1.4 times the size Details of the new star system are due to be announced later this year The...
  • Detecting extrasolar moons akin to Solar System satellites with an Orbital Sampling Effect

    03/25/2014 6:59:19 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    Astrobiology ^ | March 25, 2014 | Rene Heller
    Despite years of high accuracy observations, none of the available theoretical techniques has yet allowed the confirmation of a moon beyond the Solar System. Methods are currently limited to masses about an order of magnitude higher than the mass of any moon in the Solar System. I here present a new method sensitive to exomoons similar to the known moons. Due to the projection of transiting exomoon orbits onto the celestial plane, satellites appear more often at larger separations from their planet. After about a dozen randomly sampled observations, a photometric orbital sampling effect (OSE) starts to appear in the...
  • New Alien Planet Hunter -- "Exponentially More Powerful Imager..."

    03/25/2014 6:48:53 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    Daily Galaxy ^ | March 24, 2014 | Gemini Observatory
    In one minute, we are seeing planets that used to take us an hour to detect,” says Bruce Macintosh of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who led the team that built the instrument. After nearly a decade of development, construction, and testing, the world’s most advanced instrument for directly imaging and analyzing planets around other stars is pointing skyward and collecting light from distant worlds. The instrument, called the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), was designed, built, and optimized for imaging faint planets next to bright stars and probing their atmospheres. It will also be a powerful tool for studying dusty,...
  • Twin NASA Probes Find “Zebra Stripes” in Earth’s Radiation Belt

    03/19/2014 5:12:44 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | March 19, 2014 | Jason Major on
    Earth’s inner radiation belt displays a curiously zebra-esque striped pattern, according to the latest findings from NASA’s twin Van Allen Probes. What’s more, the cause of the striping seems to be the rotation of the Earth itself — something that was previously thought to be impossible. “…it is truly humbling, as a theoretician, to see how quickly new data can change our understanding of physical properties.” – Aleksandr Ukhorskiy, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory ... “If the inner belt electron populations are viewed as a viscous fluid,” Ukhorskiy said, ”these global oscillations slowly stretch and fold that fluid, much...
  • Vatican scientists co-host conference on alien life forms

    03/19/2014 1:53:47 PM PDT · by NYer · 37 replies
    Cath News ^ | March 19, 2014
    Nearly 200 scientists are attending the conference, called The Search for Life Beyond the Solar System: Exoplanets, Biosignature & Instruments, which runs from March 16-21 in Tucson, Arizona. The Vatican Observatory is co-hosting the conference with the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory. 'Finding life beyond Earth is one of the great challenges of modern science and we are excited to have the world leaders in this field together in Tucson,' said event co-chair Daniel Apai, assistant professor of astronomy and planetary sciences at the UA Steward Observatory.'But reaching such an ambitious goal takes planning and time. The goal of this meeting is...
  • 'Waves' detected on Titan moon’s lakes

    03/18/2014 1:25:36 PM PDT · by don-o · 38 replies
    BBC ^ | March 18, 2014 | Paul Rincon
    Scientists believe they have detected the first liquid waves on the surface of another world. The signature of isolated ripples was observed in a sea called Punga Mare on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. However, these seas are filled not with water, but with hydrocarbons like methane and ethane. These exist in their liquid state on Titan, where the surface temperature averages about -180C. Planetary scientist Jason Barnes discussed details of his findings at the 45th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in Texas this week. Continue reading the main story “Start Quote We think we've found the first...
  • The Search for Life Beyond the Solar System: Exoplanets, Biosignatures & Instruments.

    03/17/2014 2:01:33 PM PDT · by iowamark · 20 replies
    EBI.org ^ | 3/16/2014
    Motivated by the rapidly increasing number of known Earth-sized planets, the increasing range of extreme conditions in which life on Earth can persist, and the progress toward a technology that will ultimately enable the search for life on exoplanets, the Vatican Observatory and the Steward Observatory announce a major conference entitled The Search for Life Beyond the Solar System: Exoplanets, Biosignatures & Instruments. Goal: The goal of the conference is to bring together the interdisciplinary community required to address this multi-faceted challenge: experts on exoplanet observations, early and extreme life on Earth, atmospheric biosignatures, and planet-finding telescopes. Format: The sessions...
  • NASA Finds Another Solar System Mystery based on Stardust mission

    03/13/2006 6:19:02 PM PST · by NormsRevenge · 22 replies · 1,261+ views
    ap on San Diego Union Tribune ^ | 3/13/06 | Pam Easton - ap
    SPACE CENTER, Houston – NASA scientists have a new mystery to solve: How did materials formed by fire end up on the outermost reaches of the solar system, where temperatures are the coldest? The materials were contained in dust samples captured when the robotic Stardust spacecraft flew past the comet Wild 2 in 2004. A 100-pound capsule tied to a parachute returned the samples to Earth in January. The samples include minerals such as anorthite, which is made up of calcium, sodium, aluminum and silicate; and diopside, made of calcium magnesium and silicate. Such minerals only form in very high...