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Keyword: xplanets

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  • 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...
  • Why We Need to go to Europa

    03/09/2014 5:28:18 PM PDT · by lbryce · 46 replies
    FRom Quarks To Quasars ^ | March 7, 2014 | Staff
    NASA really wants to go to Europa, and anyone who knows anything about exobiology really wants NASA to go to Europa. Why? Water. On Earth, water is what fuels life. Of course, there are a lot of other things that fuel life on our planet, but water is an integral part of life as we know it. Indeed, so far all of our research has indicated that–where there is water, there is life (Earth isn’t called “the Pale Blue Dot” for nothing). And while it is possible that alien life could exists on other worlds and thrive off of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Habitable Worlds

    03/03/2014 5:30:33 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 34 replies
    NASA ^ | March 03, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Is Earth the only known world that can support life? In an effort to find life-habitable worlds outside our Solar System, stars similar to our Sun are being monitored for slight light decreases that indicate eclipsing planets. Many previously-unknown planets are being found, including over 700 worlds recently uncovered by NASA's Kepler satellite. Depicted above in artist's illustrations are twelve extrasolar planets that orbit in the habitable zones of their parent stars. These exoplanets have the right temperature for water to be a liquid on their surfaces, and so water-based life on Earth might be able to survive on...
  • This One Weird Trick helps find 715 new Exo-Planets.

    02/27/2014 8:42:49 AM PST · by GraceG · 15 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 2/26/2014 | Elizabeth Howell
    Actual Headline: Mega Discovery! 715 Alien Planets Confirmed Using A New Trick On Old Kepler Data Planet-watchers, some exciting news: you know how we keep talking about planet candidates, those planets that have yet to be confirmed, when we reveal stories about other worlds? That’s because verifying that the slight dimming of a star’s light is due to a planet takes time – -specifically, to have other telescopes verify it through examining gravitational wobbles on the parent star. Turns out there’s a way to solve the so-called “bottleneck” of planet candidates vs. confirmed planets. NASA has made use of a...
  • We ‘Hype’ Alien World Findings Amid Little Data, Exoplanet Scientist Says

    02/20/2014 11:58:59 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 12 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | February 20, 2014 | Elizabeth Howell on
    One long-standing exoplanet researcher argues that we don’t know very much about about alien planet atmospheres, as an example. Princeton University’s Adam Burrows says that not only is our understanding at an infancy, but the media and scientists overhype information based on very little data. Burrow’s skepticism comes from how information on exoplanet atmospheres is collected. That uses a method called low-resolution photometry, which shows changes in light and radiation emitted from an object such as a planet. This could be affected by things such as a planet’s rotation and cloud cover.
  • How Our Milky Way Galaxy Got Its Spiral Arms

    02/24/2014 5:14:18 PM PST · by rickmichaels · 6 replies
    Space.com ^ | Feb. 12, 2014 | Katia Moskvitch
    The shape of the Milky Way galaxy, our solar system's home, may look a bit like a snail, but spiral galaxies haven't always had this structure, scientists say. In a recent report, a team of researchers said they now know when and how the majestic swirls of spiral galaxies emerged in the unicerse. Galaxies are categorized into three main types, based on their shapes: spiral, elliptical and irregular. Almost 70 percent of those closest to the Milky Way are spirals. But in the early universe, spiral galaxies didn't exist. A husband and wife team of astronomers, Debra Meloy Elmegreen at...
  • Detection of solar wind-produced water in irradiated rims on silicate minerals

    02/23/2014 7:10:03 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    PNAS Online ^ | December 23, 2013 | John P. Bradley et al
    Whether water is produced by solar wind (SW) radiolysis has been debated for more than four decades. In this paper, we exploit the high spatial resolution of electron microscopy and sensitivity of valence electron energy-loss spectroscopy to detect water (liquid or vapor) in vesicles within (SW-produced) space-weathered rims on interplanetary dust particle (IDP) surfaces. Water in the rims has implications for the origin of water on airless bodies like the Moon and asteroids, the delivery of water to the surfaces of terrestrial planets, and the production of water in other astrophysical environments... The solar wind (SW), composed of predominantly ∼1-keV...
  • Are We Alone? (reason to ponder what makes the earth unique)

    07/30/2004 11:57:38 AM PDT · by Heartlander · 85 replies · 2,250+ views
    Discovery Institute / The American Spectator ^ | May 1, 2004 | Jay W. Richards & Guillermo Gonzalez
    Are We Alone?Our recent success on Mars leaves us no reason to think otherwise--and reason to ponder what makes the earth unique. By: Jay W. Richards & Guillermo Gonzalez The American Spectator May 1, 2004 The American taxpayers recently footed the bill for a risky $800 million NASA mission. The good news? It worked. In January, two NASA landers bounced to their destinations and released their rovers Spirit and Opportunity to prowl the Martian landscape. These remarkable little robots were not searching for archaeological ruins or strange, black monoliths but something much less exotic--the fingerprints of water in liquid form....
  • Alien life deemed impossible by analysis of 500 planets

    01/23/2011 9:38:58 AM PST · by Cincinatus' Wife · 203 replies · 1+ views
    The Daily Telegraph ^ | January 23, 2011 | Heidi Blake
    Howard Smith, a senior astrophysicist at Harvard, made the claim that we are alone in the universe after an analysis of the 500 planets discovered so far showed all were hostile to life. Dr Smith said the extreme conditions found so far on planets discovered outside out Solar System are likely to be the norm, and that the hospitable conditions on Earth could be unique. “We have found that most other planets and solar systems are wildly different from our own. They are very hostile to life as we know it,” he said. He pointed to stars such as HD10180,...
  • Odds of Life on Nearby Planet '100 Percent,' Astronomer Says

    09/30/2010 4:04:03 PM PDT · by Dallas59 · 92 replies
    Fox News ^ | 9/30/2010 | Fox News
    An Earth-size planet has been spotted orbiting a nearby star at a distance that would makes it not too hot and not too cold -- comfortable enough for life to exist, researchers announced Wednesday. If confirmed, the exoplanet, named Gliese 581g, would be the first Earth-like world found residing in a star's habitable zone -- a region where a planet's temperature could sustain liquid water on its surface.[Illustration of planet Gliese 581g.] And the planet's discoverers are optimistic about the prospects for finding life there. "Personally, given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I...
  • The Lens We’ll Look Through to Find a New Earth

    04/29/2012 9:48:15 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 11 replies
    Gizmodo ^ | 3/28/12 | Brent Rose
    We have heard a lot about exoplanets in the past year. But for all the talk about these planets, which orbit a star other than our sun, we still haven't actually seen one. One tool could change that, giving us our first look at a distant planet that could be the next best thing to Earth. Currently, scientists detect an extra-solar planet by measuring the dimming of its star as the planet passes between it and our line of sight (this is known as the Transit Method). By observing the way the star's light shines around the planet, it's possible...
  • Intelligent Aliens Could Be Found by 2040

    02/10/2014 6:28:41 AM PST · by 12th_Monkey · 109 replies
    Space.com ^ | February 10, 2014 | Mike Wall
    The first detection of intelligent extraterrestrial life will likely come within the next quarter-century, a prominent alien hunter predicts. By 2040 or so, astronomers will have scanned enough star systems give themselves a great shot of discovering alien-produced electromagnetic signals, said Seth Shostak of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, Calif. "I think we'll find E.T. within two dozen years using these sorts of experiments," Shostak said here Thursday (Feb. 6) during a talk at the 2014 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) symposium here at Stanford University "Instead of looking at a few thousand star systems,...
  • Astronomers discover oldest star: Formed shortly after the Big Bang 13. 7 billion years ago

    02/10/2014 7:49:57 AM PST · by EveningStar · 25 replies
    ScienceDaily ^ | February 9, 2014
    A team led by astronomers at The Australian National University has discovered the oldest known star in the Universe, which formed shortly after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. The discovery has allowed astronomers for the first time to study the chemistry of the first stars, giving scientists a clearer idea of what the Universe was like in its infancy.
  • The Mystery of the North Star: Astronomers baffled to find Polaris is getting BRIGHTER

    02/06/2014 12:11:57 AM PST · by ApplegateRanch · 77 replies
    Daily Mail ^ | UPDATED: 16:18 EST, 5 February 2014 | MARK PRIGG
    Team found that Polaris is 2.5 times brighter today than in 137CE Experts say find is 'entirely unexpected' Astronomers have discovered that Polaris, the north star, is getting brighter. They say the star has suddenly reversed two decades of dimming. It is expanding at more than 100 times the rate they expected - and nobody is sure why. A team led by Scott Engle of Villanova University in Pennsylvania recalibrated historic measurements of Polaris by Ptolemy in 137 C.E., the Persian astronomer Al-Sufi in 964 C.E., and others. They investigated the fluctuations of the star over the course of several...
  • Earth’s Water Story Gets A Plot Twist From Space Rock Search

    01/30/2014 12:01:21 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 11 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | January 30, 2014 | Elizabeth Howell on
    “If true, the stirring provided by migrating planets may have been essential to bringing those asteroids,” the astronomers stated in a press release. “This raises the question of whether an Earth-like exoplanet would also require a rain of asteroids to bring water and make it habitable. If so, then Earth-like worlds might be rarer than we thought.” To take this example further, the researchers found that the asteroid belt comes from a mix of locations around the solar system. Well, a model the astronomers cite shows that Jupiter once migrated much closer to the sun, basically at the same distance...
  • This Dwarf Planet Might Have More Fresh Water Than All Of Earth

    01/26/2014 7:31:00 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 53 replies
    Popular Science ^ | January 22, 2014 | Colin Lecher
    And it's actually (relatively) nearby. This is poor, unfortunate Ceres. Discovered in 1801, it was at first called a planet, then soon classified as an asteroid, and recently as a dwarf planet, not quite qualifying for real planet status despite residing in the solar system's asteroid belt. But now it can feel special: the Herschel Telescope has, the for the first time, detected water on the lil' planet--probably a whole lot of it, too. The telescope, using infrared vision, detected a signature of water vapor from Ceres. The researchers think when the 590-mile-wide Ceres moves closer to the sun, part...
  • Bradford Student Assists With Discovery Of New Planet

    01/20/2014 1:14:49 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    Bradford Era ^ | Saturday, January 18, 2014 | Ruth Bogdan
    Sam Mellon, a graduate of Bradford Area High School and a junior physics major and music minor at Westminster College in New Wilmington, was involved in the finding of KELT-b6, a Saturn-like planet located outside our solar system, called an exoplanet. Mellon is the son of David and Martha Mellon of Bradford. Sam Mellon, along with two other Westminster students and one Westminster faculty advisor, are part of a larger group called KELT (Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope), which seeks to identify exoplanets. Research leading to the discovery of KELT-b6 was made with the help of the KELT-North survey telescope at...
  • New Gassy Exoplanet has Mass of Earth but is 60 Percent Larger [KOI-314c]

    01/06/2014 8:16:40 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    Nature World News ^ | Jan 06, 2014 | James A. Foley
    The planet, named KOI-314c, is the lightest planet to have both its mass and physical size measured, and it is the first Earth-mass planet to have been located as it passes its host star... The newfound planet is in close orbit with its host star, a red dwarf, which it orbits every 23 days. At 220 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature on the planet, which is about 200 light years away, is too hot for life as we know it to exist. The planet is only about 30 percent denser than water, the astronomers report, which suggests that the gaseous planet...
  • Habitability around F-type Stars

    01/06/2014 8:10:13 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    Astrobiology ^ | December 31, 2013 | S. Sato, M. Cuntz, C. M. Guerra Olvera, D. Jack, K.-P. Schroeder
    We explore the general astrobiological significance of F-type main-sequence stars with masses between 1.2 and 1.5 Msun. Special consideration is given to stellar evolutionary aspects due to nuclear main-sequence evolution. DNA is taken as a proxy for carbon-based macromolecules following the paradigm that extraterrestrial biology may be most likely based on hydrocarbons. Consequently, the DNA action spectrum is utilized to represent the impact of the stellar UV radiation. Planetary atmospheric attenuation is taken into account based on parameterized attenuation functions. We found that the damage inflicted on DNA for planets at Earth-equivalent positions is between a factor of 2.5 and...
  • ‘Super-Earths’ and ‘mini-Neptunes’ abound among planets outside our solar system

    01/06/2014 5:21:47 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 9 replies
    washingtonpost.com ^ | Monday, January 6,
    Astronomer Geoff Marcy of the University of California at Berkeley presented data showing that about 85 percent of planets found by NASA’s Kepler space telescope are “mini-Neptunes” or “super-Earths.” Marcy noted that these planets orbit close to their parent stars and that it is possible, with advances in instrument sensitivity, that scientists will discover an abundance of small, rocky planets at more distant orbits. But that’s not what we see so far. Instead, there seems to be a distinct cosmic preference for this intermediate range of planet. These planets also seem to follow a pronounced pattern: Up to about twice...
  • Kepler-62f: A Possible Water World

    01/05/2014 7:42:47 PM PST · by lbryce · 42 replies
    Space.com ^ | January 2, 2014 | Elizabeth Howell
    The artist's conception depicts Kepler-62f,a super-Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a star smaller and cooler than the sun, located about 1,200 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. The small shining object seen to the right of Kepler-62f is Kepler-62e. Kepler-62f is a remarkably Earth-like planet about 1,200 light-years from our planet. The world is only 1.4 times bigger than Earth and is in orbit around a star that is somewhat dimmer and smaller than the sun. It orbits in what is believed to be the habitable region of its star. The planet was announced in 2013 as...
  • Top exoplanet finds of 2013

    01/04/2014 9:14:30 AM PST · by Farnsworth · 11 replies
    Science News ^ | Dec 28, 2013 | Ashley Yeager
    1. The Earthiest Kepler-78b is most similar to Earth in mass, diameter and composition; it could be made of rock with an iron core. But it’s no Earth analog, whizzing around its star in 8.5 hours, with temperatures exceeding 2,000° Celsius (SN Online: 10/30/13). 2. The wettest HR 8799c’s atmosphere lacks methane, which could signal life, but does have water and carbon monoxide (SN: 4/6/13, p. 5). Water has also been found in the atmospheres of WASP-17b, HD209458b, WASP-12b, WASP-19b and XO-1b. 3. The rogue Planetary candidate PSO J318.5-22 has no parent star. The object is roughly six times the...
  • Big-bang-defying giant of astronomy passes away (article)

    01/02/2014 9:11:49 AM PST · by fishtank · 29 replies
    Creation.com ^ | 12-31-13 | John G. Hartnett
    Big-bang-defying giant of astronomy passes away by John G. Hartnett Published: 31 December 2013 (GMT+10) Halton Arp passed away on Saturday morning 28th December 2013 in Munich, Germany. He will be sorely missed by many but not so much by others because of his challenges to the ruling big bang paradigm. With Geoffrey Burbidge and others, Professor Halton Arp was a thorn in the side of those who held to the standard story line of the big bang. In many papers and several books1 he promoted the idea that quasars are born from the nucleus of active galaxies—parent galaxies. In...
  • Strange New Worlds: The Amazing Alien Planet Discoveries of 2013

    01/01/2014 3:15:13 PM PST · by Farnsworth · 31 replies
    Livescience.com ^ | December 27, 2013 | Mike Wall
    While astronomers didn't bag that elusive first "alien Earth" in 2013, they made plenty of exciting exoplanet discoveries during the past year. Here's a list of the top exoplanet finds of 2013, from a tiny world about the size of Earth's moon to a blue gas giant on which it rains molten glass: The most Earthlike world yet Also this year, researchers found the closest thing to an Earth twin in size and composition, though it's far too hot to support life as we know it. Kepler-78b is just 20 percent wider and about 80 percent more massive than our...