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Keyword: xplanets

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  • Mysterious asteroid the size of a dwarf planet is lurking in our solar system

    12/26/2020 11:02:02 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 26 replies
    livescience ^ | 26 December 2020 | By Rafi Letzter -
    The evidence for this mystery space rock comes from a diamond-studded meteor that exploded over Sudan in 2008. NASA had spotted the 9-ton (8,200 kilograms), 13-foot (4 meters) meteor heading toward the planet well before impact, and researchers showed up in the Sudanese desert to collect an unusually rich haul of remains. Now, a new study of one of those meteorites suggests that the meteor may have broken off of a giant asteroid — one more or less the size of the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt. The meteorite harbored an unusual suite of minerals...
  • A 'super-puff' planet like no other

    01/18/2021 10:38:20 AM PST · by Red Badger · 14 replies ^ | JANUARY 18, 2021 | by University of Montreal
    Artistic rendition of the exoplanet WASP-107b and its star, WASP-107. Some of the star's light streams through the exoplanet's extended gas layer. Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA, M. Kornmesser. ======================================================== The core mass of the giant exoplanet WASP-107b is much lower than what was thought necessary to build up the immense gas envelope surrounding giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn, astronomers at Université de Montréal have found. This intriguing discovery by Ph.D. student Caroline Piaulet of UdeM's Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) suggests that gas-giant planets form a lot more easily than previously believed. Piaulet is part of the groundbreaking research...
  • Something's Making Dead Stars Mysteriously Hot, And We're Running Out of Explanations

    11/25/2020 8:05:03 AM PST · by Red Badger · 56 replies ^ | 24 NOVEMBER 2020 | MICHELLE STARR
    White dwarf stars in globular cluster NGC 6397. (NASA, ESA, and H. Richer/University of British Columbia) SPACE ====================================================================== When stars like the Sun reach the end of their lives, the object that remains is a white dwarf. This is the star's shrunken, naked core, no longer capable of nuclear fusion. It shines, but only with residual heat, slowly cooling over billions of years until it's completely cold and dark. But not all white dwarfs cool the same way. Last year, astronomers found a certain type of massive white dwarf stars cool more slowly than others, as though they have...
  • Meteorites Show That Our Solar System Formed in Less Than 200,000 Years

    11/24/2020 6:29:35 AM PST · by Red Badger · 34 replies ^ | By Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory November 24, 2020
    Artist’s conception of the dust and gas surrounding a new planetary system. Credit: NASA ========================================================================= A long time ago — roughly 4.5 billion years — our sun and solar system formed over the short time span of 200,000 years. That is the conclusion of a group of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists after looking at isotopes of the element molybdenum found on meteorites. The material that makes up the sun and the rest of the solar system came from the collapse of a large cloud of gas and dust about 4.5 billion years ago. By observing other stellar systems...
  • Amateur astronomer Alberto Caballero finds possible source of Wow! signal

    11/25/2020 5:18:25 AM PST · by Red Badger · 59 replies ^ | November 24, 2020 | by Bob Yirka ,
    The Wow! signal represented as "6EQUJ5". Credit: Big Ear Radio Observatory and North American AstroPhysical Observatory (NAAPO) ====================================================================== Amateur astronomer and YouTuber Alberto Caballero, one of the founders of The Exoplanets Channel, has found a small amount of evidence for a source of the notorious Wow! signal. In his paper uploaded to the arXiv preprint server, Caballero describes searching the Gaia database for possible sun-like stars that might host an exoplanet capable of supporting intelligent life. Back in 1977, astronomers working with the Big Ear Radio Telescope—at the time, situated in Delaware, Ohio—recorded a unique signal from somewhere in space....
  • Scientists discover bizarre hell planet where it rains rocks and oceans are made of lava

    11/06/2020 5:41:06 PM PST · by nickcarraway · 25 replies
    CBS News ^ | NOVEMBER 5, 2020 | SOPHIE LEWIS
    If you thought living on Earth in 2020 was comparable to hell, planet K2-141b is here to prove you wrong. On the scorching hot planet, hundreds of light-years away, oceans are made of molten lava, winds reach supersonic speeds and rain is made of rocks. Scientists have referred to the bizarre, hellish exoplanet as one of the most "extreme" ever discovered. According to a new study published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, scientists from McGill University, York University and the Indian Institute of Science Education have uncovered details of one of the newest "lava planets" — a...
  • Bizarre new planet is largest known rocky world, 40 times as massive as Earth

    10/31/2020 12:01:44 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 44 replies
    National Geographic ^ | 7/1/2020 | Nadia Drake
    The bulky object—possibly the core of a failed gas giant—challenges what astronomers think about how planets form. About 730 light-years away, not far on the scale of our galaxy, an utterly bizarre planet orbits a sun-like star. Big, dense, and tightly tethered to its home star, the planet is unlike anything astronomers have yet seen—either in our own solar system or afar. The roasted world known as TOI-849b is the most massive rocky planet ever observed, with as much as 40 Earths’ worth of material crammed inside. Perplexingly, TOI-849b’s tremendous bulk suggests that it should be a giant, gassy world...
  • Cometary Activity Spotted on Distant Centaur

    10/29/2020 5:34:55 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 23 replies
    Sci-News ^ | 10/29/2020
    Centaurs are minor planets thought to have originated in the outer region of our Solar System known as the Kuiper Belt. Active centaurs enigmatically display prominent comet-like features such as comae or tails even though they orbit in the gas giant region where it is too cold for water to readily sublimate. Only 18 active centaurs have been identified since 1927 and, consequently, the underlying activity mechanisms are still poorly understood. 2014 OG392 orbits between 10 and 15 AU (astronomical units) where its equilibrium temperature would be around minus 213 degrees Celsius (minus 351 degrees Fahrenheit). Chandler and colleagues initially...
  • Rogue Planet About the Size of Earth Discovered in the Milky Way

    10/29/2020 11:07:11 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 39 replies ^ | By University of Warsaw October 29, 2020
    An artist’s impression of a gravitational microlensing event by a free-floating planet. Credit: Jan Skowron / Astronomical Observatory, University of Warsaw ============================================================================= Our Galaxy may be teeming with rogue planets, gravitationally unbound to any star. An international team of scientists, led by Polish astronomers, has announced the discovery of the smallest Earth-sized free-floating planet found to date. Over four thousand extrasolar planets have been discovered to date. Although many of the known exoplanets do not resemble those in our solar system, they have one thing in common — they all orbit a star. However, theories of planet formation and evolution...
  • Two planets found orbiting a red dwarf

    10/16/2020 12:18:19 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 18 replies ^ | 10/16/2020 | by University of Bern
    Red dwarfs are the coolest kind of star. As such, they potentially allow liquid water to exist on planets that are quite close to them. In the search for habitable worlds beyond the borders of our solar system, this is a big advantage: the distance between an exoplanet and its star is a crucial factor for its detection. The closer the two are, the higher the chance that astronomers can detect the planet from Earth. "But these stars are rather small and emit little light compared to most other stars, such as our Sun," Brice-Olivier Demory, lead author of the...
  • Opposite World: Pluto’s Ice Caps Made of Methane, Turns Earth’s Process Upside Down

    10/16/2020 11:33:41 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 12 replies ^ | October 14, 2020 | By Frank Tavares, NASA's Ames Research Center
    Pluto as seen from data taken by New Horizon’s flyby in 2015 of the dwarf planet, with a close-up view of the Pigafetta Montes mountain range. The colorization on the right indicates the concentrations of methane ice, with the highest concentrations at higher elevations in red, decreasing downslope to the lowest concentrations in blue. Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI and Ames Research Center/Daniel Rutter ============================================================================= The mountains discovered on Pluto during the New Horizons spacecraft’s flyby of the dwarf planet in 2015 are covered by a blanket of methane ice, creating bright deposits strikingly like the snow-capped mountain chains found on Earth. New...
  • Scientists Reveal First Direct Image of an Exoplanet Only 63 Light-Years Away

    10/02/2020 12:05:02 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 33 replies ^ | 2 OCTOBER 2020 | MICHELLE STARR
    Illustrations of Beta Pictoris system (l.; c.); the system's dimensions (r.). (GRAVITY Collaboration/Axel M. Quetz, MPIA Graphics Department) ================================================================================ Most of the exoplanets we've confirmed to date have never actually been seen directly. We confirm their presence by indirect means, such as the effect they have on their host star. But now, astronomers have revealed images of an indirectly found exoplanet. It's not just an impressive feat of skills and technology. The combination of methods has given us a superb toolkit for measuring an exoplanet. For the first time, astronomers have measured both the brightness and the mass of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day - GW Orionis: A Star System with Tilted Rings

    09/29/2020 3:21:24 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 12 replies ^ | 28 Sep, 2020 | Animation Illustration Credit: ESO, U. Exeter, S. Kraus et al., L. Calçada
    Explanation: Triple star system GW Orionis appears to demonstrate that planets can form and orbit in multiple planes. In contrast, all the planets and moons in our Solar System orbit in nearly the same plane. The picturesque system has three prominent stars, a warped disk, and inner tilted rings of gas and grit. The featured animation characterizes the GW Ori system from observations with the European Southern Observatory's VLT and ALMA telescopes in Chile. The first part of the illustrative video shows a grand vista of the entire system from a distant orbit, while the second sequence takes you inside...
  • Are aliens hiding in plain sight?

    09/25/2020 11:02:36 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 64 replies
    The Guardian ^ | 9/5/2020 | Philip Ball
    In July, three unmanned missions blasted off to Mars – from China (Tianwen-1), the US (Nasa’s Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover) and the United Arab Emirates (Hope). The Chinese and American missions have lander craft that will seek signs of current or past life on Mars. Nasa is also planning to send its Europa Clipper probe to survey Jupiter’s moon Europa, and the robotic lander Dragonfly to Saturn’s moon Titan. Both moons are widely thought to be promising hunting grounds for life in our solar system – as are the underground oceans of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. Meanwhile, we can now...
  • For The First Time, an 'Ultra-Hot Neptune' Has Been Discovered Orbiting a Sun-Like Star

    09/25/2020 10:08:56 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 6 replies ^ | 23 SEPTEMBER 2020 | MICHELLE STARR
    A new exoplanet discovery is the first of its kind, sitting in a strange 'gap' of exoplanets insanely close to their host stars. The planet is a Neptune-sized body that whips around its star once every 19 hours. Never before has a Neptune-sized exoplanet been found with an orbital period of less than a day. Usually, exoplanets this close to their star are either gas giants, known as ultra-hot Jupiters, or smaller, rocky planets like Earth, Mercury, Mars and Venus, known as ultra-short period planets. This new class, represented by this sole member, has been dubbed "ultra-hot Neptunes". Curiously, its...
  • Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover will hunt for fossils using x-rays

    09/24/2020 11:19:29 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    SlashGear ^ | Sep 23, 2020, 7:24 am CDT | Shane McGlaun -
    NASA currently expects to land the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021. Once the rover is on the surface and working, it will begin to search for traces of microscopic life that could be billions of years old. The rover is fitted with an instrument called PIXL, which is a lunchbox-sized device at the end of the seven-foot-long robotic arm fitted to the rover. . PIXL uses more than an x-ray beam alone, it also has a hexapod, which is a device featuring six mechanical legs connected to the robotic arm guided by...
  • Astronomers Discover 'Pi Earth' Exoplanet Orbits Its Star Once Every 3.14 Days

    09/22/2020 11:17:02 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 26 replies ^ | 22 SEPTEMBER 2020 | MICHELLE STARR
    (NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle, Christine Daniloff, MIT) Every exoplanet is special in its own way, but a newly discovered exoplanet 186 light-years away is an especially delicious treat. It's a smallish world around the same size as Earth, whipping around its star on an orbit that takes just 3.14 days. That's extremely close to the mathematical constant π (Pi), the number that describes the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. So, even though the exoplanet's official name is K2-315b, its discoverers have nicknamed it "π Earth." The discovery of the star has been several years in the baking....
  • Scientists find 'secret molecule' that allows bacteria to exhale electricity

    09/18/2020 4:17:57 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    Live Science ^ | 18 September 2020 | Brandon Specktor
    For mouthless, lungless bacteria, breathing is a bit more complicated than it is for humans. We inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide; Geobacter — a ubiquitous, groundwater-dwelling genus of bacteria — swallow up organic waste and "exhale" electrons, generating a tiny electric current in the process. Those waste electrons always need somewhere to go (usually into a plentiful underground mineral like iron oxide), and Geobacter have an unconventional tool to make sure they get there. "Geobacter breathe through what is essentially a giant snorkel, hundreds of times their size," That "snorkel" is called a nanowire. Though these tiny, conductive filaments...
  • Astronomers find no signs of alien tech after scanning over 10 million stars

    09/08/2020 5:05:20 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 45 replies
    CNET ^ | Sept. 7, 2020 8:36 p.m. PT | Jackson Ryan
    The study, published in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia on Monday, details a search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) using the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), a collection of 4096 antennas planted in the red soil of Western Australia that detects radio signals from space. "They are little spider-like antennas that sit on the ground," explains Chenoa Tremblay, co-author on the study and astrophysicist with CSIRO, an Australian government scientific research organization. Tremblay and co-author Stephen Tingay, from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, used the MWA to listen out for "technosignatures," or evidence of alien technology, in a...
  • Rarest planet in the universe may be lurking in Orion's nose

    09/04/2020 1:41:21 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 46 replies
    Live Science ^ | 3 Sep, 2020 | Brandon Specktor
    This could be the first known planet in the universe to orbit three suns at once. Perched on the tip of Orion's nose, there spins a solar system that could give Tatooine — Luke Skywalker's twin-sunned homeworld — a run for its money. Known as GW Orionis (or GW Ori) and located about 1,300 light-years from Earth, the system is a rare example of a triple-star solar system, with two suns orbiting one another at the center, and a third star swirling around its siblings from several hundred million miles away. Scientists previously identified the system by its three bright...