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Keyword: xplanets

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    06/20/2022 8:18:06 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 30 replies
    “If Planet Nine is real, it would be on such an odd orbit and so far out in the outer Solar System, that it would really challenge our ideas of planet formation and dynamics,” Ann-Marie Madigan, assistant professor of astrophysics... Madigan isn’t searching for just one planet — she’s looking for an entire belt of celestial objects. Like Planet Nine, this proposed Zderic-Madigan, or ZM, belt would be really out there, far beyond the Kuiper belt, with some of its closest bodies being more than twice as far from the Sun as Pluto at perihelion. Unlike the Kuiper belt, this...
  • Astronomers Have Discovered 2 Super-Earths Orbiting a Nearby Star

    06/17/2022 8:04:24 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 45 replies ^ | 16 JUNE 2022 | MICHELLE STARR
    Illustration of the two newly discovered exoplanets. (NASA/JPL-Caltech) Two new worlds of probable rocky mineral goodness have just been found orbiting a star close to our own cosmic neighborhood. The two newly discovered exoplanets are what are known as super-Earths – bigger than Earth, but smaller than an ice giant – orbiting a cool red dwarf star called HD 260655, which is just 33 light-years away. While the worlds are unlikely to be habitable, given our current understanding of life, the star and its exoplanets are among the closest multi-world systems to Earth. This makes it an excellent target for...
  • New clues about how hot Jupiters form

    06/10/2022 11:49:22 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 12 replies ^ | JUNE 9, 2022
    Since the first hot Jupiter was discovered in 1995, astronomers have been trying to figure out how the searing-hot exoplanets formed and arrived in their extreme orbits. Johns Hopkins University astronomers have found a way to determine the relative age of hot Jupiters using new measurements from the Gaia spacecraft, which is tracking over a billion stars. Called hot Jupiters because the first one discovered was about the same size and shape as our solar system's Jupiter, these planets are about 20 times closer to their stars than Earth is to the sun, causing these planets to reach temperatures of...
  • All Those Exoplanets Have Moons, Too New telescopes promise to reveal countless moons scattered across the galaxy

    06/05/2022 7:14:57 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 7 replies
    The Quantum Cat ^ | 6/5/2022 | Alastair Williams
    Eliminate the impossible, as Sherlock Holmes once said, and the truth, no matter how improbable, lies in whatever remains. Good advice for detectives — and, it turns out, for astronomers. Astronomy is often little more than piecing together scattered clues, carefully eliminating possibilities and arriving at an improbable truth. Take, for example, the announcement of an exomoon discovery back in 2017. Observations seemed to show the presence of large moon, one as big as Neptune, orbiting a gas giant in a distant solar system. But, as the authors of the announcement were careful to state, the discovery was far from...
  • This 830-million-year-old crystal might contain life. And we're about to open it

    05/24/2022 4:27:59 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 41 replies
    NPR ^ | May 24, 20224:37 PM ET | MICHAEL LEVITT SARAH HANDEL
    From lemons to ham, salt is a handy food preservative. But researchers studying some really old salt crystals found them preserving something else — evidence of life. "There are little cubes of the original liquid from which that salt grew. And the surprise for us is that we also saw shapes that are consistent with what we would expect from microorganisms," said Kathy Benison, a geologist at West Virginia University. "And they could be still surviving within that 830-million-year-old preserved microhabitat." The salt crystals (aka halite) that Benison and her team studied were originally found in central Australia. Benison was...
  • Surprising Changes in Neptune’s Temperatures Detected by Astronomers

    04/19/2022 7:18:30 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 25 replies ^ | April 19, 2022 | By EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY (ESO)
    Thermal Images of Neptune Over a 17-year period, an international team of astronomers monitored Neptune’s atmospheric temperatures. They discovered that Neptune’s global temperatures dropped unexpectedly, followed by a dramatic warming at its south pole. Credit: ESO/M. Roman Using ground-based telescopes, including the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT), an international team of astronomers track Neptune’s atmospheric temperatures over a 17-year period. They found a surprising drop in Neptune’s global temperatures followed by a dramatic warming at its south pole. “This change was unexpected,” says Michael Roman, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Leicester, UK, and lead...
  • Probing Uranus Is Top Priority This Decade, U.S. Science Advisors Say

    04/19/2022 9:09:28 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 95 replies ^ | April 19, 2022 | By Isaac Schultz & NASA
    A new decadal survey outlines planetary defense and science goals through 2032. Top of the list: sending spacecraft to Uranus. Uranus in 1986. Uranus, as seen by Voyager 2 in January 1986.Image: NASA/JPL ================================================================== A new report covering the next 10 years of American planetary science and astrobiology concludes that a Uranus Orbiter and Probe should be “the highest priority large mission.” This decadal survey from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is intended to shape funding and research efforts through 2032. It calls for a spacecraft that will orbit Uranus and map its gravitational and magnetic fields....
  • A Powerful 'Space Laser' Has Been Detected Beaming FROM Deep Space

    04/08/2022 6:43:04 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 31 replies ^ | 8 APRIL 2022 | MICHELLE STARR
    Powerful, radio-wavelength laser light has been detected emanating from the greatest distance across deep space yet. It's a type of massless cosmic object called a megamaser, and its light has traveled for a jaw-dropping 5 billion light-years to reach us here on Earth. The astronomers who discovered it using the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa have named it Nkalakatha – an isiZulu word meaning "big boss". The discovery has been accepted into The Astrophysical Journal Letters and is available on preprint server arXiv. "It's impressive that, with just a single night of observations, we've already found a record-breaking megamaser,"...
  • The Most Distant Exoplanet Ever Found by Kepler Is... Surprisingly Familiar

    04/04/2022 8:25:27 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 25 replies ^ | Apr 4, 2022 | MICHELLE STARR
    The signal detected by Kepler (l) and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. (The University of Manchester) An exoplanet a whopping 17,000 light-years from Earth has been found hiding in data collected by the now-retired Kepler Space Telescope. It's the most distant world ever picked up by the planet-hunting observatory, twice the distance of its previous record. Fascinatingly, the exoplanet is almost an exact twin of Jupiter – of similar mass, and orbiting at almost the same distance as Jupiter's distance from the Sun. Named K2-2016-BLG-0005Lb, it represents the first exoplanet confirmed from a 2016 data run that detected 27 possible objects using...
  • Rooting Out Planetary Imposters: Three “Exoplanets” Turn Out To Be Stars

    03/20/2022 9:34:46 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 17 replies ^ | MARCH 20, 2022 | ENNIFER CHU, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
    In a study published on March 15, 2022...MIT astronomers report that three, and potentially four, planets that were originally discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope are in fact misclassified. Instead, these suspected planets are likely small stars. The team used updated measurements of planet-hosting stars to double-check the size of the planets, and identified three that are simply too big to be planets. With new and better estimates of stellar properties, the researchers found that the three objects, which are known as Kepler-854b, Kepler-840b, and Kepler-699b, are now estimated to be between two and four times the size of Jupiter....
  • Exploring Alien Worlds With NASA’s Webb Space Telescope: TRAPPIST-1 System

    03/09/2022 8:37:07 AM PST · by Red Badger · 26 replies ^ | Mar 6, 2022 | By NASA
    TRAPPIST-1 Webb Space Telescope During its first operating cycle, the James Webb Space Telescope will set its sights on the TRAPPIST-1 system, an incredible collection of seven rocky exoplanets 41 light years away from Earth. Astrobiologists like Dr. Giada Arney from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center are excited about this system because TRAPPIST-1 is a perfect laboratory for studying habitability! It consists of seven rocky planets, distributed across the system’s habitable zone, or the area around a star where it is not too hot and not too cold for liquid water to exist on the surface of surrounding planets....
  • Look Skywatcher! See 'Tatooine' with binoculars

    09/18/2011 8:39:21 PM PDT · by Windflier · 27 replies ^ | September 16, 2011 | Mike Wall
    The alien planet with two suns, as in the "Star Wars" films, will be visible Scientists have spotted a real-life Tatooine — a world with two suns, like Luke Skywalker's home planet in the "Star Wars" films — and you should be able to see this alien star system, too, using a good pair of binoculars. Astronomers announced the discovery of the alien planet, called Kepler-16b, Thursday. The Saturn-mass planet orbits a pair of stars known as Kepler-16A and Kepler-16B. Someone on Kepler-16b would see two suns hanging near each other in the sky, just as Luke did on Tatooine.
  • Astronomers Identify Real-Life Planet With Two Suns – Like “Tatooine” From Star Wars

    02/28/2022 7:43:31 AM PST · by Red Badger · 27 replies ^ | FEBRUARY 26, 2022 | By OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY & NASA
    Kepler-16b Artist’s impression of Kepler-16b, the first planet known to definitively orbit two stars – what’s called a circumbinary planet. The planet, which can be seen in the foreground, was discovered by NASA’s Kepler mission. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle ********************************************************************************* Study proves ground-based telescopes can search for planets with two suns. Astronomers have used a new technique to confirm a real-life Tatooine, the fictional planet with two suns that was home to Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars.” The planet, Kepler-16b, is about 245 light years from Earth, is a gas giant, and is roughly the size of Saturn. Scientists already knew...
  • Astronomers Spot Third Possible Planet Orbiting Nearest Star...If confirmed, the exoplanet would be among the lightest ever detected.

    02/10/2022 9:14:51 AM PST · by Red Badger · 16 replies ^ | February 10, 2022 | ByGeorge Dvorsky
    Artist’s impression of the newly discovered candidate planet in orbit around Proxima Centauri, with Alpha Centauri A and B in the background.Image: ESO/L. Calçada Proxima Centauri, a tiny star located a mere 4.25 light-years from Earth, may host a third planet, according to new research. The nearest star to Earth is a surprisingly busy place, or at least it’s looking that way. Astronomers have announced the discovery of a candidate planet around Proxima Centauri, adding to the two already known to orbit the star. Astronomer João Faria from the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal is the lead...
  • Physicists crack unsolvable three-body problem using drunkard's walk ... It has plagued scientists since the days of Isaac Newton.

    01/04/2022 12:20:44 PM PST · by Red Badger · 83 replies ^ | January 4, 2022 | By Ashley Hamer
    A physics problem that has plagued science since the days of Isaac Newton is closer to being solved, say a pair of Israeli researchers. The duo used "the drunkard's walk" to calculate the outcome of a cosmic dance between three massive objects, or the so-called three-body problem. For physicists, predicting the motion of two massive objects, like a pair of stars, is a piece of cake. But when a third object enters the picture, the problem becomes unsolvable. That's because when two massive objects get close to each other, their gravitational attraction influences the paths they take in a way...
  • First Rogue Black Hole Ever Discovered – And It’s Only 5,000 Light-Years Away

    02/09/2022 9:01:59 AM PST · by Red Badger · 31 replies ^ | FEBRUARY 7, 2022 | By ANDY TOMASWICK, UNIVERSE TODAY
    Microlensing strikes again. Astronomers have been using the technique to detect everything from rogue planets to the most distant star ever seen. Now, astronomers have officially found another elusive object that has long been theorized, and that Universe Today first reported on back in 2009 but has never directly detected – a rogue black hole. That detection comes at the end of a 6-year observational campaign, with dozens of authors collaborating on a paper recently published in arXiv (meaning it has not yet been peer-reviewed). Those six years of painstakingly gathered data all started back in 2011, when a star...
  • What is Pluto?

    01/31/2022 7:41:35 PM PST · by CondoleezzaProtege · 39 replies
    Pluto is a dwarf planet. A dwarf planet travels around, or orbits, the sun just like other planets. But it is much smaller. Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto in 1930. He was an astronomer from the United States. An astronomer is a scientist who studies stars and other objects in space. Venetia Burney named Pluto that same year. She was an 11-year-old girl from England. Pluto is not very big. It is only half as wide as the United States. Pluto is smaller than Earth's moon. This dwarf planet takes 248 Earth years to go around the sun. If you lived...
  • Scientists think they've found a big, weird moon in a far-off star system

    01/13/2022 11:39:35 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 16 replies
    NPR ^ | January 13, 202211:00 AM ET | NELL GREENFIELDBOYCE
    The hunt for moons outside our solar system has just turned up another possible lunar world, a moon bigger than Earth that's orbiting a Jupiter-like planet. The planet and its moon — if it really is a moon — orbit a Sun-like star that's over 5,000 light years away, according to a report in the journal Nature Astronomy. "The moon is pretty alien compared to any moon in the solar system," says David Kipping, an astronomer at Columbia University. "We're not sure if it's rocky, we're not sure if it's gaseous. It's kind of in between the size of Neptune,...
  • Scientists want to fire 'indestructible' tardigrades to distant stars at 100 million miles per hour using massive LASERS in a bid to see how interstellar space travel affects them

    01/11/2022 3:32:01 PM PST · by fruser1 · 44 replies
    UK Daily Mail ^ | 1/11/2022 | Jonathan Chadwick
    The US experts want to know how interstellar space travel affects the microscopic animals, known for an ability to survive extreme conditions including in outer space. In a new paper, they've proposed building small space probes containing tardigrades, also known as 'water bears', that would travel at up to 30 per cent the speed of light into space. These probes would be propelled by laser light instead of rocket fuel, from a laser array stationed on Earth, or possibly the moon. At speeds of roughly 100 million miles per hour, tardigrades would reach the next solar system, Proxima Centauri, in...
  • Heavenly Bodies Stir Up Routine Catastrophes

    03/18/2003 9:33:33 AM PST · by blam · 10 replies · 842+ views
    IOL ^ | 3-18-2003 | Graeme Addison
    Heavenly bodies stir up routine catastrophes March 18 2003 at 01:30PM By Graeme Addison Legend has it that when two people get together and er... bond, the Earth will move – at least in a metaphorical sense. Likewise, it takes two heavenly bodies, an impactor and a target, to come together with Earth-shattering force to form a crater. There’s nothing dreamlike about this: it happens, frequently, throughout the solar system. Impact catastrophes are routine. Just over two-billion years ago, a chunk of asteroid at least the size of Table Mountain struck the landmass that is now South Africa. It hurtled...