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Keyword: xplanets

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  • Moons that escape their planets are now called ‘ploonets’

    07/13/2019 2:40:31 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 67 replies
    BGR ^ | 07/11/2109 | Miek Wehner
    The researchers suggest that this type of world may a result of large “hot Jupiter” exoplanets migrating toward their host star. Exoplanet surveys have detected several such planets, and it’s believed that they likely formed at a greater distance from their respective stars and then slowly crept inward. When that happens, it’s possible that the change in gravitational forces would prompt large moons to break free from their existing orbits and become standalone worlds of their own. Computer simulations showed that this could indeed happen, and in those cases, the researchers believe we should call them ploonets. Remarkably, our own...
  • Alien moon likely seen forming in first-of-its-kind picture

    07/13/2019 8:49:06 AM PDT · by amorphous · 9 replies
    National Geographic ^ | July 12, 2019 | Nadia Drake
    In a possible first, a giant, faraway planet may have been caught in the act of growing moons. Seen in an image from the ALMA Observatory in Chile, the young planet orbits a small star roughly 370 light-years away, and it appears to be swaddled in a dusty, gassy disk—the exact type of structure scientists think produced Jupiter’s many moons billions of years ago.
  • NASA breakthrough: Planet with ‘raining diamonds’ stuns scientists – ‘Extraordinary!’

    07/06/2019 7:04:05 AM PDT · by DUMBGRUNT · 45 replies
    Express ^ | 5 July 2019 | CALLUM HOARE
    NASA discovered Saturn’s mysterious atmosphere boasts diamonds raining down on the planet, it was revealed during a new documentary. “Below the upper atmosphere great clouds of water grow and lightning 10,000 times more powerful than on Earth illuminates the sky. “This lightning transforms the methane gas into huge clouds of soot.” He added: “Deeper still, the pressure grows so great that these chunks of soot are likely transferred into diamonds. “But even these diamonds will succumb to the pressure of Saturn, liquifying.
  • The Planet-Hunting TESS Discovers Its Smallest Exoplanet to Date [L 98-59b]

    07/05/2019 9:23:16 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 23 replies
    Universe Today ^ | July 3, 2019 | Matt Williams of TESS’ most recent discoveries includes a three-planet system that orbits a star (L 98-59) located roughly 35 light-years from Earth. One of the planets, known as L 98-59b, is between the sizes of Earth and Mars – effectively making it the smallest exoplanet discovered by TESS to date. The discovery also highlights the sophistication of TESS and doubles the number of small exoplanets that are considered worthy of follow-up studies... While L 98-59b represents a new record for TESS, being about 10% smaller than the previous record-holder it discovered, it is not the smallest exoplanet discovered to date....
  • How Mercury and Venus can guide our hunt for alien life on exoplanets

    06/22/2019 9:29:56 PM PDT · by EdnaMode · 12 replies
    New Scientist ^ | June 19, 2019 | Leah Crane
    Earth's nearest neighbours have turned into uninhabitable hellholes. Understanding their transformation will teach us which rocky exoplanets might be fit for life CLOSE to the sun lie a pair of sizzling coals. You could be forgiven for thinking these strange worlds were two circles of hell: Mercury, a black and blasted plain, and Venus, a sweltering world beset by rain of pure acid. But for all the terror of their outward appearance, their insides are remarkably familiar. Along with Earth and Mars, they form the solar system’s only rocky planets, a stark contrast to the bloated gas giants that make...
  • Astronomers see 'warm' glow of Uranus's rings

    06/20/2019 8:55:48 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 50 replies ^ | 06/20/2019 | by Robert Sanders
    The rings of Uranus are invisible to all but the largest telescopes—they weren't even discovered until 1977—but they're surprisingly bright in new heat images of the planet taken by two large telescopes in the high deserts of Chile. The thermal glow gives astronomers another window onto the rings, which have been seen only because they reflect a little light in the visible, or optical, range and in the near-infrared. The new images taken by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Very Large Telescope (VLT) allowed the team for the first time to measure the temperature of the rings:...
  • Two potentially life-friendly planets found orbiting a nearby star

    06/18/2019 3:30:41 PM PDT · by EdnaMode · 88 replies
    National Geographic ^ | June 18, 2019 | Nadia Drake
    A tiny, old star just 12 light-years away might host two temperate, rocky planets, astronomers announced today. If they’re confirmed, both of the newly spotted worlds are nearly identical to Earth in mass, and both planets are in orbits that could allow liquid water to trickle and puddle on their surfaces. Scientists estimate that the stellar host, known as Teegarden’s star, is at least eight billion years old, or nearly twice the sun’s age. That means any planets orbiting it are presumably as ancient, so life as we know it has had more than enough time to evolve. And for...
  • Vatican Astronomer Discusses Discovery of Kepler-452b

    07/27/2015 9:31:17 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 12 replies
    Father José Gabriel Funes, the director of the Vatican Observatory, said he was "very skeptical" that the discovery of Kepler-452b will lead to an encounter with extraterrestrial life in the near future. Writing in the Vatican newspaper, the priest reviewed the positions of St. Albert the Great, Nicholas of Cusa, and others on the possibility of extraterrestrial life and said that Jesuit Father Angelo Secchi, a pioneer in astrophysics, thought that there were other inhabited worlds. "It seems that the vast majority of stars in our galaxy ... at least potentially can have planets where life could develop," Father Funes...
  • Was Our Solar System Designed to Produce Humans?

    06/01/2019 11:31:37 PM PDT · by vannrox · 8 replies
    New Dawn Magazine ^ | undated | Christopher Knight & Alan Butler
    More than a decade has passed since we joined forces to try and find out if there was any reality to a claim that highly accurate units of length had been in used during the British Neolithic. We found that these supposedly primitive people were using a highly developed science that connected them to the rhythms of the Earth.But our biggest personal challenge has been to face up to the consequences of our own findings because they have brought us to the point where we have found compelling evidence that our planet and its environment has been carefully designed for...
  • Eighteen Earth-sized exoplanets discovered

    05/29/2019 10:25:41 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    Phys dot org ^ | May 22, 2019 | Max Planck Society
    Somewhat more than 4000 planets orbiting stars outside our solar system are known so far. Of these so-called exoplanets, about 96 percent are significantly larger than our Earth, most of them more comparable with the dimensions of the gas giants Neptune or Jupiter. This percentage likely does not reflect the real conditions in space, however, since small planets are much harder to track down than big ones. Moreover, small worlds are fascinating targets in the search for Earth-like, potentially habitable planets outside the solar system. The 18 newly discovered worlds fall into the category of Earth-sized planets. The smallest of...
  • What keeps Pluto's ocean from freezing?

    05/20/2019 5:57:14 PM PDT · by EdnaMode · 37 replies
    CNN ^ | May 20, 2019 | Ashley Strickland
    hen NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flew past Pluto in 2015, researchers hoped that its data would help them unravel some of the dwarf planet's mysteries. Instead, the discoveries made during the close-up look at Pluto and its moon Charon revealed more questions that needed answering. One of the big revelations from the flyby was the discovery of an ocean beneath the icy shell encapsulating Pluto. The ice shell was thin in a spot near the equator that's about the size of Texas, known as Sputnik Planitia, which helped researchers notice Pluto's odd topography and suggest the ocean's existence. But this...
  • 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 Saturn’s 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 Saturn’s large moon Titan, researchers found a completely unexpected corridor of methane ice wrapping nearly halfway around the moon. Three orientations of Titan’s 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 Saturn’s 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 NASA’s new space-based exoplanet hunter. Now it’s 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. Artist’s concept of HD 21749c, the first Earth-sized exoplanet discovered by TESS. Image via Robin Dienel/Carnegie Institution for Science.NASA’s newest exoplanet-hunting telescope, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), has now found its first Earth-sized world. It’s the smallest planet TESS has found yet in its still-young mission. Astronomers say it’s 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
    NASA’s 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 that’s 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 Union’s (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...