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Keyword: xplanets

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  • Toward a High-Velocity Astronomy

    05/15/2019 9:39:55 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 14 replies
    Centauri Dreams ^ | 5/15/19 | Paul Gilster
    Toward a High-Velocity Astronomyby Paul Gilsteron May 15, 2019 Couple the beam from a 100 gigawatt laser with a single-layer lightsail and remarkable things can happen. As envisioned by scientists working with Breakthrough Starshot, a highly reflective sail made incredibly thin — perhaps formed out of graphene and no thicker than a single molecule — could attain speeds of 20 percent of c. That’s good enough to carry a gram-scale payload to the nearest stars, the Alpha Centauri triple system, with a cruise time of 20 years, for a flyby followed by an agonizingly slow but eventually complete data return....
  • Ancient Neutron-Star Crash Made Enough Gold and Uranium to Fill Earth's Oceans

    05/13/2019 7:30:37 PM PDT · by ETL · 36 replies ^ | May 8, 2019 | Charles Q. Choi
    Enough gold, uranium and other heavy elements about equal in mass to all of Earth's oceans likely came to the solar system from the collision of two neutron stars billions of years ago, a new study finds. If the same event were to happen today, the light from the explosion would outshine the entire night sky, and potentially prove disastrous for life on Earth, according to the new study's researchers. Recent findings have suggested that much of the gold and other elements heavier than iron on the periodic table was born in the catastrophic aftermath of colliding neutron stars,...
  • Researchers find icy corridor on Saturns giant moon

    05/06/2019 6:20:46 AM PDT · by vannrox · 73 replies
    earthSky ^ | 5may19 | Eleanor Imster
    While searching for the source of methane on Saturns large moon Titan, researchers found a completely unexpected corridor of methane ice wrapping nearly halfway around the moon. Three orientations of Titans globe. The icy corridor is mapped in blue. Image via Caitlin Griffith/UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.A research team has discovered huge ice feature on Titan while trying to understand where Saturns largest moon gets all of its methane. Like Earth, Titan has rain, seas and a surface of eroding organic material. However, on Titan it is methane, not water, that makes up the raindrops and fills the lakes.A team...
  • TESS discovers its 1st Earth-sized exoplanet

    04/28/2019 3:34:51 AM PDT · by vannrox · 6 replies
    earthSky ^ | 26apr19 | By Paul Scott Anderson
    Launched in 2018, TESS is NASAs new space-based exoplanet hunter. Now its found its 1st Earth-sized world orbiting a nearby star. The discovery bodes well, scientists say, for finding more similar worlds in the near future. Artists concept of HD 21749c, the first Earth-sized exoplanet discovered by TESS. Image via Robin Dienel/Carnegie Institution for Science.NASAs newest exoplanet-hunting telescope, theTransiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), has now found its first Earth-sized world. Its the smallest planet TESS has found yet in its still-young mission. Astronomers say its another exciting step towards finding worlds beyond our solar system that might be capable of...
  • This Is The First Photo of an Exoplanet Candidate 1,200 Light-Years Away

    04/24/2019 11:21:38 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 43 replies
    ScienceAlert ^ | June 17, 2016 | Josh Hrala
    Astronomers have managed to capture an amazingly clear image of CVSO 30c - a potential exoplanet orbiting a distant star named CVSO 30, that lies some 1,200 light-years away. Besides being breathtaking to look at, researchers are extra excited about the new photo, because it could mean that CVSO 30 actually has two planets orbiting it instead of just one. Follow-up observations and analysis will be needed to confirm CVSO 30c as a true exoplanet, but if verified, this would be the first star system to host both a close-in exoplanet and a far-out exoplanet. Four years ago, astronomers found...
  • NASA planet hunter finds its first Earth-size world

    04/24/2019 9:45:09 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 21 replies
    Science mag ^ | April 17, 2019 | Alex Fox
    NASAs Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has found its first Earth-size planet, reports. The planet, called HD 21749c, orbits a star about 53 light-years from Earth, researchers write this week in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The rocky HD 21749c circles its star at close range, completing a full orbit every 7.8 Earth days, suggesting to astronomers that it is probably too hot to sustain life. TESS also discovered another planet orbiting the same star that astronomers are calling a sub-Neptune after its closest analog in own solar system.
  • Video: The making of the largest 3-D map of the universe

    04/18/2019 4:45:18 AM PDT · by simpson96 · 8 replies ^ | 4/15/2019 | Staff
    DESI, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, will mobilize 5,000 swiveling robots each one pointing a thin strand of fiber-optic cable to gather the light from about 35 million galaxies. The little robots are designed to fix on a series of preselected sky objects that are as distant as 12 billion light-years away. By studying how these galaxies are drifting away from us, DESI will provide precise measurements of the accelerating rate at which the universe is expanding. This expansion rate is caused by an invisible force known as dark energy, which is one of the biggest mysteries in...
  • You can help name the largest unnamed world in the solar system

    04/09/2019 11:16:13 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 82 replies ^ | 9 April 2019 | By Leah Crane
    A dwarf planet discovered over a decade ago is the largest body we know of in our solar system without a proper name but thats about to change. Meg Schwamb, an astronomer at Gemini Observatory in Hawaii, and her colleagues have opened a public vote to name the distant world, which is currently known only as 2007 OR10. They have selected three potential names that fit the International Astronomical Unions (IAU) rules on official names for minor planets, and will recommend the winner to the IAU, which will then select the formal name. So why now, instead of when...
  • Scientists prove that binary stars reflect light from one another (new way to study binaries)

    04/03/2019 2:52:41 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 49 replies ^ | 4/2/19 | Lachlan Gilbert
    UNSW astronomers have shown that binary stars two stars locked in orbit around each other reflect light as well as radiating it, revealing new ways for their detection. One of the first things we learn in astronomy is that some of the objects in the sky (the Sun and the stars) produce their own light, whereas others (the Moon and the planets) are only visible because they reflect light from the Sun. But do the Sun and the stars also reflect some of the light that falls on them? This is a question that scientists from UNSW Sydney...
  • Curiosity rover confirms source of seasonal methane spikes on Mars

    04/02/2019 12:53:05 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 26 replies
    UPI ^ | April 2, 2019 / 2:30 PM | By Brooks Hays
    "Our results support the idea that methane release on Mars might be characterized by small, transient geological events," researcher Frank Daerden said. The European Space Agency's Mars Express probe measured methane in the Martian atmosphere a day after NASA's Curiosity rover detected the gas in Gale Crater. Photo by ESA ============================================================= April 2 (UPI) -- Some 15 years ago, a European probe measured traces of methane in the Martian atmosphere. Now, NASA's Curiosity rover and the European Space Agency's Mars Express have confirmed the gas' presence in the air above Gale Crater. "The presence of methane could enhance habitability and...
  • Next Stop, Triton? Here's Two Wild Ideas to Explore Neptune's Weirdest Moon

    04/01/2019 4:20:11 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies ^ | Meghan Bartels
    It's a large moon, the seventh largest in our solar system, and scientists think it was born in the Kuiper Belt before falling into its current location in orbit around the most distant planet. ...Procktor and her colleagues believe they can photograph the moon's entire surface in a single pass. ...On its way past Triton, the spacecraft's flight would be timed in order to see in sunlight the 60 percent or so of its surface that Voyager 2 couldn't see. After the initial approach, the spacecraft would turn its camera back to recapture the 40 percent of the surface Voyager...
  • There Is Definitely Methane on Mars, Scientists Say. But Is It a Sign of Life?

    04/01/2019 2:00:52 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 50 replies
    space,com ^ | 04/01/2019 | Mike Wall
    Curiosity rover mission recently determined that background levels of methane in Mars' atmosphere cycle seasonally, peaking in the northern summer. The six-wheeled robot has also detected two surges to date of the gas inside the Red Planet's 96-mile-wide (154 kilometers) Gale Crater once in June 2013, and then again in late 2013 through early 2014. These finds have intrigued astrobiologists, because methane is a possible biosignature. Though the gas can be produced by a variety of geological processes, the vast majority of methane in Earth's air is pumped out by microbes and other living creatures. Some answers may soon...
  • New GRAVITY instrument uses optical interferometry to spot exoplanet, a first

    03/27/2019 12:03:57 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 9 replies
    UPI ^ | March 27, 2019 | By Brooks Hays
    GRAVITY works by synching the VLT's four unit telescopes to perform like a bigger, more powerful telescope. For the first time, the Very Large Telescope's GRAVITY instrument has observed a distant exoplanet using optical interferometry. Observations of the exoplanet's atmosphere revealed massive, swirling storm clouds of iron and silicates stretching across the entirety of the alien planet. Astronomers described GRAVITY's feat and shared details about the observed target, exoplanet HR8799e, in a paper published this week in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. GRAVITY works by synching the VLT's four unit telescopes to perform like a bigger, more powerful telescope. Astronomers...
  • Who Discovered Uranus? [ March 13th, 1781 ]

    03/13/2019 10:55:23 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 49 replies
    Universe Today ^ | April 16, 2017 | Matt Williams
    The first recorded instance of Uranus being spotted in the night sky is believed to date back to Classical Antiquity. During the 2nd century BCE, Hipparchos - the Greek astronomer, mathematician and founder of trigonometry - apparently recorded the planet as a star in his star catalogue (completed in 129 BCE). This catalog was later incorporated into Ptolemy's Almagest, which became the definitive source for Islamic astronomers and for scholars in Medieval Europe for over one-thousand years... This included English astronomer John Flamsteed, who in 1690 observed the star on six occasions and catalogued it as a star in the...
  • The case of the over-tilting exoplanets

    03/04/2019 5:33:45 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 11 replies ^ | March 4, 2019, | Yale University
    For almost a decade, astronomers have tried to explain why so many pairs of planets outside our solar system have an odd configurationtheir orbits seem to have been pushed apart by a powerful unknown mechanism. Yale researchers say they've found a possible answer, and it implies that the planets' poles are majorly tilted. NASA's Kepler mission revealed that about 30% of stars similar to our Sun harbor "Super-Earths." Their sizes are somewhere between that of Earth and Neptune; they have nearly circular and coplanar orbits; and it takes them fewer than 100 days to go around their star. Yet curiously,...
  • Proof of 'Planet Nine' May Be Sewn into Medieval Tapestries

    02/28/2019 8:50:11 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 45 replies
    Live Science ^ | May 4, 2018 | Stephanie Pappas
    The records include dates and times, Cesario said, which makes them useful to modern-day astronomers. Planet Nine, if it exists, would have about 10 times the mass of Earth and orbit 20 times farther from the sun than Neptune does... Scientists suspect the existence of Planet Nine because it would explain some of the gravitational forces at play in the Kuiper Belt, a stretch of icy bodies beyond Neptune. But no one has been able to detect the planet yet, though astronomers are scanning the skies for it with tools such as the Subaru Telescope on Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano....

    02/12/2019 12:54:28 AM PST · by vannrox · 9 replies
    Spaceflight Insider ^ | 11FEB19 | LAUREL KORNFELD
    A new set of images showing the New Horizons spacecraft departing from Ultima Thule following its New Years Day closest approach reveals the Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) is shaped less like a snowman and more like a flat object, with one lobe looking like a pancake and the other like a dented walnut. Initial images returned immediately after the flyby suggested the double-lobed object was composed of two nearly-spherical lobes, one larger than the other. Their apparent nearly round shapes were not due to the lobes being rounded by their own gravity, as both are far too small to attain...
  • Astronomers Find Sun's Twin

    01/07/2004 5:59:53 PM PST · by KevinDavis · 39 replies · 2,137+ views ^ | 01/07/04 | Tariq Malik
    ATLANTA - The Sun has a twin, astronomers announced Tuesday. The solar doppelganger hits nearly identical marks in temperature, rotation and age. Planet hunters have it on their lists, but theres no word yet whether carbon-based folks are looking back at their stars twin, our own Sun. 18 Scorpii is in the constellation Scorpius, visible in the predawn sky to the south. Finding it requires completely dark skies and a map configured for your location. More Stories The 10 Brightest Stars Strangest Star Known is the 'Talk of Astronomy' Mysteries of the Sun
  • Do you like Earth's solid surface and life-inclined climate? Thank your lucky (massive) star

    02/12/2019 11:26:53 AM PST · by ETL · 37 replies ^ | February 11, 2019 | Michael Meyer, University of Michigan
    Earth's solid surface and moderate climate may be due, in part, to a massive star in the birth environment of the Sun, according to new computer simulations of planet formation. Without the star's radioactive elements injected into the early solar system, our home planet could be a hostile ocean world covered in global ice sheets."The results of our simulations suggest that there are two qualitatively different types of planetary systems," said Tim Lichtenberg of the National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS in Switzerland. "There are those similar to our solar system, whose planets have little water, and those in...
  • Two more rings discovered around Uranus

    12/22/2005 11:55:15 AM PST · by iPod Shuffle · 75 replies · 1,357+ views
    MSNBC/AP ^ | Dec. 22nd
    Two more rings discovered around Uranus First additions to planet's ring system in nearly 20 years Updated: 2:03 p.m. ET Dec. 22, 2005 Astronomers aided by the Hubble Space Telescope have spied two more rings encircling Uranus, the first additions to the planets ring system in nearly two decades. The faint, dusty rings orbit outside of Uranus previously known rings, but within the orbits of its large moons, said Mark Showalter, an astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., who made the discovery. Details will appear on the journal Science's Web site, in advance of print publication. The...