Keyword: xplanets

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  • Strange bacteria found on South American volcanoes

    06/13/2012 6:31:04 PM PDT · by Ernest_at_the_Beach · 10 replies
    watts Up With That? ^ | June 10, 2012 | Anthony Watts
    From the University of Colorado at Boulder, proof that life can inhabit just about anywhere. CU-Boulder-led team finds microbes in extreme environment on South American volcanoesA CU-Boulder-led team has discovered some rare, primitive microorganisms on high volcanoes in South America that may be fueled by drifting gases in the region rather than photosynthesis. Credit: University of Colorado A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder looking for organisms that eke out a living in some of the most inhospitable soils on Earth has found a hardy few.A new DNA analysis of rocky soils in the Martian-like landscape on some...
  • Alien Earths May Be Widespread in Our Milky Way Galaxy

    06/13/2012 4:50:57 PM PDT · by KevinDavis · 35 replies
    space.com ^ | 06/13/12 | Mike Wall
    Small, rocky planets can coalesce around a wide variety of stars, suggesting that Earth-like alien worlds may have formed early and often throughout our Milky Way galaxy's history, a new study reveals.
  • Freeman Dyson: Science on the Rampage

    05/09/2012 10:28:59 AM PDT · by neverdem · 37 replies
    New York Review of Books ^ | April 5, 2012 | Freeman Dyson
    Physics on the Fringe: Smoke Rings, Circlons, and Alternative Theories of Everything by Margaret Wertheim Walker, 323 pp., $27.00                                                   Pierpont Morgan Library/Art Resource An engraving by William Blake from The Song of Los, 1795 Physics on the Fringe describes work done by amateurs, people rejected by the academic establishment and rejecting orthodox academic beliefs. They are often self-taught and ignorant of higher mathematics. Mathematics is the language spoken by the professionals. The amateurs offer an...
  • Asteroid or glitch? Google Sky user spots strange, undiscovered glowing rock in our solar system

    06/07/2012 6:40:47 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 70 replies
    Daily Mail (UK) ^ | Tuesday, June 5, 2012 | Eddie Wrenn
    Youtube user planetkrejci, who has investigated other anomalies on NASA pictures, claims the object -- found using the Google website which transports the heavens to desktop computers and smartphones -- is an asteroid which is heading towards Earth. He says the asteroid -- which, if real, has not been spotted by other scientists or astronomers -- has only appeared recently on Google Sky, which receives updated images every few months. Announcing his find on YouTube, he says the black object, mottled with green spots, is so clear that it must be within the solar system. The user had been exploring...
  • Universe has more hydrogen than we thought (Undark’ matter hidden in plain view)

    06/02/2012 11:45:49 AM PDT · by Ernest_at_the_Beach · 26 replies
    The Register ^ | 31st May 2012 23:59 GMT | Richard Chirgwin
    A re-analysis of radio telescope observations from three countries has yielded a surprising result: nearby galaxies harbour one-third more hydrogen than had previously been estimated. While nothing like enough matter to solve physics’ “dark matter” problem, the work by CSIRO astronomer Dr Robert Braun (chief scientist at the agency’s Astronomy and Space Science division in Sydney) also helps explain why the rate of star formation has slowed down. While there’s more hydrogen than astronomers had thought, its distribution makes star formation more difficult. Andromeda – the galaxy headed for a catastrophic collision with our own in about four billion years...
  • Newfound exoplanet may turn to dust

    06/03/2012 1:51:51 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    Science Blog ^ | May 21, 2012 | unattributed
    Researchers at MIT, NASA and elsewhere have detected a possible planet, some 1,500 light years away, that appears to be evaporating under the blistering heat of its parent star. The scientists infer that a long tail of debris -- much like the tail of a comet -- is following the planet, and that this tail may tell the story of the planet's disintegration. According to the team's calculations, the tiny exoplanet, not much larger than Mercury, will completely disintegrate within 100 million years. The team found that the dusty planet circles its parent star every 15 hours -- one of...
  • Laser frequency combs aid the search for exoplanets

    06/03/2012 1:42:26 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    Laser Focus World ^ | Saturday, June 2, 2012 | John Wallace
    A team of scientists headed by Theodor Hänsch from the Laser Spectroscopy Division at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics has collaborated with researchers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, and Menlo Systems GmbH (Martinsried) in modifying the optical frequency-comb technique in a way that it can be applied for the calibration of astronomical spectrographs. Hänsch is one of the inventors of the optical frequency comb. The new instrument has been tested successfully with the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS), a spectrograph at the 3.6 m telescope at the La Silla...
  • Milky Way Galaxy Doomed to Head-On Crash with Andromeda (We'Re DooMed In 4 billion years Alert!! )

    05/31/2012 6:54:00 PM PDT · by NormsRevenge · 73 replies
    SPACE.com ^ | 5/31/12 | Mike Wall
    Four billion years from now, the Milky Way galaxy as we know it will cease to exist. Our Milky Way is bound for a head-on collision with the similar-sized Andromeda galaxy, researchers announced today (May 31). Over time, the huge galactic smashup will create an entirely new hybrid galaxy, one likely bearing an elliptical shape rather than the Milky Way's trademark spiral-armed disk. "We do know of other galaxies in the local universe around us that are in the process of colliding and merging," Roeland van der Marel, of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, told reporters today. "However,...
  • SETI Astronomer Jill Tarter Retiring After 35-Year Alien Hunt

    05/23/2012 4:26:04 AM PDT · by iowamark · 59 replies
    SPACE.com ^ | 22 May 2012 | Mike Wall
    Astronomer Jill Tarter, the inspiration for heroine Ellie Arroway in the novel and movie "Contact," is retiring after spending 35 years scanning the heavens for signals from intelligent aliens. Tarter is stepping down as the director of the Center for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Research at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., the organization's officials announced today (May 22). But rather than go lie on a beach somewhere,Tarter will continue to devote herself to the search for E.T. She's shifting into a full-time fundraising role for the SETI Institute, which had to shut down a set of alien-hunting...
  • Planetary wrecking balls: how Jupiter might have destroyed Earth

    05/20/2012 8:45:06 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    Christian Science Monitor ^ | May 08, 2012 | Pete Spotts
    Gas giants orbiting other stars at distances that would fall well inside of Mercury's orbit were the first extrasolar planets discovered. Because of their mass and their close-in orbit, hot Jupiters' effects on their parent stars are more pronounced than in other systems. Once researchers had identified these planets as gas giants, the chin-scratching began. In our solar system, Jupiter and the other outer gas planets formed beyond what researchers have dubbed the solar system's frost line: a region in the early sun's disk of dust and gas where water, ammonia, methane, and other hydrogen-bearing compounds freeze into ice grains....
  • Two Earth-sized worlds created by planet-splitting red giant star

    05/20/2012 8:23:30 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 27 replies
    Huliq ^ | Tuesday, May 15, 2012 | Norman Byrd
    Two Earth-sized planets circle a red giant star. By what is generally known about star evolution, they should not exist in such close proximity to their parent star. But a new theory suggests that they may have once been part of a massive gas giant that not only was ripped apart by the parent star but also helped the parent shed excess gas, allowing them to survive. Some of the work astronomers do gravitates toward the theoretical, as when they attempt to explain certain anomalous conditions or the presence of phenomena. Such was the case when two Earth-sized planets were...
  • Subaru-Led Team Discovers a Rare Stellar Disk of Quartz Dust

    05/20/2012 8:19:33 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    Space Daily ^ | Wednesday, May 9, 2012 | Staff Writers
    Based on observations with the AKARI and Spitzer infrared space telescopes, this recently discovered, intriguing feature of a stellar system may open new doors for research on the mineralogical nature of extrasolar planetary systems... The team of scientists led by Dr. Fujiwara conducted research exploring this new frontier and concentrated their efforts on finding debris disks that could indicate planet formation. According to a widely accepted recent scenario of planet formation, rocky planets like the Earth begin as an aggregation of cosmic dust and then continued their development as an accumulation of planetesimals, rocky planetary building blocks, around young stars....
  • Hubble takes first image of solar eclipse on Uranus

    09/02/2006 3:19:24 AM PDT · by Virginia-American · 58 replies · 1,467+ views
    New Scientist ^ | 01 September 2006 | Maggie McKee
    A tiny moon has been caught floating in front of Uranus for the first time, the Hubble Space Telescope reveals. The moon's shadow can also be seen on the planet's cloud tops, creating a solar eclipse on Uranus itself. Hubble imaged the event unexpectedly in July 2006, during a set of observations meant to study the planet's clouds. "When we first got this image back, we looked at it and said, 'What's that bright spot and that dark spot?'" says team member Heidi Hammel of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, US. "We thought, it must be a problem...
  • 'Superflares' erupt on some Sun-like stars (Much larger than our SUN)

    05/18/2012 11:24:14 AM PDT · by Ernest_at_the_Beach · 5 replies
    Nature ^ | 16 May 2012 | Maggie McKee
    Superflares (white area) arise from starspots (dark areas) much larger than those seen on our Sun.Hiroyuki Maehara (Kwasan and Hida Observatories, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University) Some middle-aged stars burn and rave like newborns, producing flares thousands of times as energetic as those we see on the Sun, according to the first large survey of these events.Solar flares occur when magnetic-field loops threading through sunspots get twisted and break, releasing massive amounts of radiation and accelerating charged particles into space. The largest ever measured on the Sun took place on 1 September 1859, and was observed as a...
  • Sun Is Moving Slower Than Thought

    05/14/2012 3:47:03 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 36 replies
    National Geographic News ^ | May 10, 2012 | Andrew Fazekas
    The sun is moving through the Milky Way slower than previously thought, according to new data from a NASA spacecraft. From its orbit around Earth, the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) satellite measured the speeds of interstellar particles entering at the fringes of our solar system, 9 billion miles (14.5 billion kilometers) from the sun. Plugging the new data into computer models, the IBEX team calculates that the sun is moving at about 52,000 miles (83,700 kilometers) an hour -- about 7,000 miles (11,000 kilometers) slower than thought. The discovery suggests that the protective boundary separating our solar system from the...
  • New Planet Found in Our Solar System?

    05/12/2012 3:44:38 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 42 replies
    National Geographic ^ | 5/11/12 | Richard A. Lovett
    Odd orbits of remote objects hint at unseen world, new calculations suggest. An as yet undiscovered planet might be orbiting at the dark fringes of the solar system, according to new research.Too far out to be easily spotted by telescopes, the potential unseen planet appears to be making its presence felt by disturbing the orbits of so-called Kuiper belt objects, said Rodney Gomes, an astronomer at the National Observatory of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. Kuiper belt objects are small icy bodies—including some dwarf planets—that lie beyond the orbit of Neptune. Once considered the ninth planet in our system, the...
  • Giant Black Hole Shreds and Swallows Helpless Star

    05/03/2012 5:19:20 PM PDT · by neverdem · 45 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 2 May 2012 | Ken Croswell
    Enlarge Image Slaughtered star. A black hole (upper left) tears a helium-rich star to shreds. Credit: S. Gezari/Johns Hopkins University and J. Guillochon, UC Santa Cruz/NASA Some people seem born under an unlucky star. But some stars are equally unlucky themselves. Astronomers have spotted a star in another galaxy plunging toward a giant black hole and being ripped to shreds, sparking a flare so brilliant that observers detected it from a distance of 2.1 billion light-years. By watching the flare brighten and fade, scientists have achieved the unprecedented feat of reconstructing the life story of the doomed sun. Giant...
  • Four white dwarf stars caught in the act of consuming 'earth-like' exoplanets

    05/03/2012 11:12:43 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 21 replies
    http://phys.org ^ | May 03, 2012 | Provided by Royal Astronomical Society
    University of Warwick astrophysicists have pinpointed four white dwarf stars surrounded by dust from shattered planetary bodies which once bore striking similarities to the composition of the Earth. The scientists publish their results in a paper in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. White dwarfs are the final stage of life of stars like our Sun, the residual cores of material left behind after their available fuel for nuclear reactions has been exhausted. Using the Hubble Space Telescope to carry out the biggest survey to date of the chemical composition of the atmospheres of white dwarf stars,...
  • 'Faster-ticking clock' indicates early solar system may have evolved faster than we think

    05/03/2012 3:05:41 PM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 39 replies
    PHYS.ORG ^ | 05/01/2012
    Our solar system is four and a half billion years old, but its formation may have occurred over a shorter period of time than we previously thought, says an international team of researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and universities and laboratories in the US and Japan. Establishing chronologies of past events or determining ages of objects require having clocks that tick at different paces, according to how far back one looks. Nuclear clocks, used for dating, are based on the rate of decay of an atomic nucleus expressed by a half-life, the time it takes for half of...
  • Science and the Republican Brain

    04/30/2012 2:21:50 PM PDT · by neverdem · 47 replies
    The American Magazine ^ | April 30, 2012 | Lee Harris
    The so-called Republican brain, with its deep resistance to yielding before mere scientific evidence, has played an indispensable role in the making of modern science, long before the emergence of the Grand Old Party. A new term of political opprobrium has been loosed upon the world: anti-science. Like many terms of abuse, it is easier to convey its meaning by an illustration than by a rigorous definition. For example, “If those damn Republicans weren’t so anti-science, we might have a chance of dealing with global warming.” Here’s another example: “Those damn Republicans are so anti-science that they want to see...
  • May 20 will feature 'best solar eclipse the U.S. has seen' in decade

    04/28/2012 10:49:51 PM PDT · by nickcarraway · 21 replies
    Daily Camera ^ | 04/26/2012 | Daniel H. Zantzinger
    The sun is the epitome of contrast: When the sun rises or sets, it's the "difference between night and day." Night is banished at daybreak and re-established soon after the sun sets. At least, that's usually the case. Every 18 months or so and always on a new moon, there is somewhere on the planet where the sun becomes totally eclipsed when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth. There can be multiple, up to five, solar eclipses in a year -- though a total eclipse only recurs on any specific point on Earth every 360 or 410...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Dangerous Sunrise on Gliese 876d

    04/29/2012 4:55:30 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 31 replies
    NASA ^ | April 29, 2012 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On planet Gliese 876d, sunrises might be dangerous. Although nobody really knows what conditions are like on this close-in planet orbiting variable red dwarf star Gliese 876, the above artistic illustration gives one impression. With an orbit well inside Mercury and a mass several times that of Earth, Gliese 876d might rotate so slowly that dramatic differences exist between night and day. Gliese 876d is imagined above showing significant volcanism, possibly caused by gravitational tides flexing and internally heating the planet, and possibly more volatile during the day. The rising red dwarf star shows expected stellar magnetic activity which...
  • “Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth” Reaches 1,000,000 Views

    04/20/2012 4:27:02 PM PDT · by BruceDeitrickPrice · 56 replies
    YouTube.com ^ | April 20, 2012 | Bruce Deitrick Price
    Here’s some good news. M. J. McDermott’s wonderful video about why Americans don’t know math has exceeded 1,000,000 views. This is one of the best videos about education on the web. If you haven’t viewed it, please do. Running time is about 15 minutes. In this video, McDermott explains the flaws in so-called Reform Math, which was introduced to the country around 1985. Reform Math actually consists of more than a dozen separate but basically identical curricula. As fast as a community figures out that one of these things is bad, the so-called experts introduce another. These experts are diabolically...
  • Viking robots found life on Mars in 1976, scientists say

    New analysis of 36-year-old data, resuscitated from printouts, shows that NASA found life on Mars, an international team of mathematicians and scientists conclude in a paper published this week.
  • Auroras Seen On Uranus For First Time

    04/14/2012 5:05:10 PM PDT · by Free ThinkerNY · 44 replies
    National Geographic ^ | April 13, 2012 | Andrew Fazekas
    For the first time, astronomers have snapped photos of auroras lighting up Uranus's icy atmosphere. Two fleeting, Earth-size auroral storms were imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope as they flared up on the dayside of the gas giant in November 2011. (See "Uranus Has a Bright New Spot, Picture Shows.") "The last time we had any definite signals of auroral activity on Uranus was when NASA's Voyager 2 probe swung by in 1986," said study leader Laurent Lamy, an astronomer at the Observatoire de Paris in Meudon, France. "But this is the first time we can actually see these emissions...
  • Nine Exoplanets Discovered in Solar System's 'Twin'

    04/08/2012 12:09:45 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 25 replies
    discovery ^ | Fri Apr 6, 2012 03:07 PM ET | Ian O'Neill
    In 2010, a star 127 light-years away stunned the world -- it had become the largest star system beyond our own, playing host to five, possibly seven, alien worlds. Now, the star (called HD 10180) is back in the headlines; it may actually have nine exoplanets orbiting it. Interestingly, HD 10180 is a yellow dwarf star very much like the sun, so this discovery has drawn many parallels with our own Solar System. It is a multi-planetary system surrounding a sun-like star. But it is also a very alien place with an assortment of worlds spread over wildly different orbits....
  • Jupiter is melting, scientists say

    04/05/2012 2:15:27 AM PDT · by U-238 · 52 replies
    Fox News ^ | 3/22/2012 | Fox News
    Jupiter might be having a change of heart. Literally. New simulations suggest that Jupiter's rocky core has been liquefying, melting, and mixing with the rest of the planet's innards. With this new data, astronomers hope to better explain a recent puzzling discovery of a strange planet outside of our solar system. "It's a really important piece of the puzzle of trying to figure out what's going on inside giant planets," said Jonathan Fortney, a planetary scientist at the University of California Santa Cruz who was not affiliated with the research. Conventional planetary formation theory has modeled Jupiter as a set...
  • IBM aims to build a low-power exascale cluster in five years ( Astronomy Data Analysis)

    04/02/2012 12:52:51 PM PDT · by Ernest_at_the_Beach · 19 replies
    The Inquirer ^ | Mon Apr 02 2012, 14:3 | Lawrence Latif
    RESEARCH GIANT IBM will develop an exascale supercomputing cluster as part of a five year project with the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON). IBM has announced it entered a €33m research project with ASTRON to build a low-power exascale supercomputer cluster that will sift through data collected by the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The SKA is expected to produce exabytes of data every day peering back through time to find the origin of the universe, which until recently many hacks believed to be at the bottom of a beer glass.Ton Engbersen of IBM Research in Zurich said, "If...
  • German astronomers have discovered an ancient planetary system dating from 13 billion years ago

    03/30/2012 6:30:02 PM PDT · by U-238 · 37 replies
    Balkans.com ^ | 3/30/2012 | Balkans.com
    German astronomers have discovered an ancient planetary system thought to be a survivor of one of the earliest cosmic eras, from 13 billion years ago. The system consists of the star HIP 11952 and two planets. Such an old system will help shed light on planet formation in the early Universe, which occurred under conditions quite different from those of later planetary systems such as our own. Accepted planetary theory states that, generally speaking, a star that contains more 'metals', (i.e. chemical elements other than hydrogen and helium) is more likely to have planets; it is also widely accepted that...
  • Pulsars: The universe's gift to physics

    03/28/2012 8:26:40 PM PDT · by U-238 · 13 replies
    Astronomy Magazine ^ | 2/20/2012 | NRAO
    Pulsars, superdense neutron stars, are perhaps the most extraordinary physics laboratories in the universe. Research on these extreme and exotic objects already has produced two Nobel Prizes. Pulsar researchers now are poised to learn otherwise-unavailable details of nuclear physics to test general relativity in conditions of extremely strong gravity, and to directly detect gravitational waves with a “telescope” nearly the size of our galaxy. Neutron stars are the remnants of massive stars that exploded as supernovae. They pack more than the mass of the Sun into a sphere no larger than a medium-sized city, making them the densest objects in...
  • MOST ANCIENT, 'IMPOSSIBLE' ALIEN WORLDS DISCOVERED

    03/27/2012 7:44:31 PM PDT · by Fractal Trader · 24 replies
    Discovery News ^ | 27 March 2012 | Ian O'Neill
    As we discover more worlds orbiting distant stars, we are finding that "conventional thinking" doesn't seem to apply to the growing menagerie of exoplanets. And this most recent exoplanetary discovery is no different. In fact, the two exoplanets found to be orbiting a star 375 light-years away shouldn't exist at all. The two gas giant planets were spotted during a survey of "metal poor" stars. When focusing on a star called HIP 11952, researchers from the Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, discovered a slight wobble in the star's position. The wobble is being caused by the gravitational tug...
  • New 'life in space' hope after billions of 'habitable planets' found in Milky Way

    03/28/2012 4:58:07 PM PDT · by KevinDavis · 72 replies
    The Telegraph ^ | 03/26/12
    Billions of potentially habitable planets may exist within our galaxy, the Milky Way, raising new prospects that life could exist near Earth, a study has found. Researchers discovered that at least 100 of the ''super-Earths'' may be on our galactic doorstep, at distances of less than 30 light years, or about 180 trillion miles, from the sun.
  • The Moon’s Long Lost Twin Found

    03/24/2012 12:57:47 AM PDT · by U-238 · 79 replies · 2+ views
    International Business Times ^ | 8/11/2011 | International Business Times
    The moon maybe palely alone in the night sky today but according to scientists it is possible that the there was a second, smaller moon 4.4 billion years ago. A paper published in the journal Nature theorized that there was a smaller moon created in the same impact that created the moon. Astronomers, Martin Jutzi and Erik Asphaug of the University of California at Santa Cruz have long wondered why the moon had two incongruous sides, one smooth with flat plains and another side full of rugged mountains and craters. The astronomers started thinking that the mountainous region had been...
  • How Many Unbound Planets in Milky Way?

    03/23/2012 8:43:25 PM PDT · by U-238 · 21 replies · 4+ views
    Sky and Telescopeha ^ | 2/29/2012 | Monica Young
    Life as we know it exists on a cozy planet in a stable orbit around a sun shining brightly in its sky. But a new study hints that the most common life in the universe might exist deep inside eternal-night worlds far from any star, adrift in the icy dark of interstellar space. Researchers at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) at Stanford University estimate that "nomad" planets, ejected from their home stellar system and now free-floating through the Milky Way, could outnumber stars by as many as 100,000 to 1. Earlier estimates were more like a...
  • Scientists tell of 'runaway' planets

    03/22/2012 11:14:22 PM PDT · by U-238 · 27 replies · 2+ views
    UPI ^ | March 22, 2012 | UPI
    U.S. scientists studying "runaway" stars tossed out of our galaxy at great velocities say they've confirmed the same thing can happen to planets. The first runaway star was discovered seven years ago, heading out of the Milky Way at 1.5 million mph, and new research says planets must be doing the same thing -- at speeds up to 30 million mph, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reported Thursday. "These warp-speed planets would be some of the fastest objects in our galaxy," astrophysicist Avi Loeb said. "If you lived on one of them, you'd be in for a wild ride from...
  • Smooth Sailing on Titan

    03/18/2012 12:25:55 AM PDT · by U-238 · 16 replies
    Sky and Telescope ^ | 3/14/2012 | Sky and Telescope
    Lakes on Saturn’s moon Titan don’t do the wave very well. Radar images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft show glassy smooth surfaces, even on bodies like Ligeia Mare, a large sea roughly 400 kilometers (250 miles) wide. There are patterns on the shoreline of the southern hemisphere's Ontario Lacus that might be from waves, but the features aren’t definitive. Winds haven’t been too high on Titan since Cassini first arrived in Saturn's system in 2004, so the lack of waves is odd but understandable. The ESA’s Huygens probe sent back amazing surface images, including snapshots of delta-looking features, when it made...
  • Space Weather: Explosions on Venus

    03/18/2012 7:54:56 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 27 replies
    NASA ^ | March 5, 2012 | unattributed javascript fan
    Earth has a magnetic field and Venus does not -- a crucial distinction when assessing the effects of the sun on each planet. As the solar wind rushes outward from the sun at nearly a million miles per hour, it is stopped about 44,000 miles away from Earth when it collides with the giant magnetic envelope that surrounds the planet called the magnetosphere. Most of the solar wind flows around the magnetosphere, but in certain circumstances it can enter the magnetosphere to create a variety of dynamic space weather effects on Earth. Venus has no such protective shield, but it...
  • "Fermi Bubbles" -- Starry Messages? Searching for Signatures of Interstellar Archaeology

    03/18/2012 7:30:40 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 56 replies
    The Daily Galaxy ^ | March 05, 2012 | 'my weblog'
    "Fermi Bubbles, " which might appear as a void in visible light in spiral galaxies. is the term used by Richard Carrigan at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in his work on the search for cosmic-scale artifacts like Dyson spheres or Kardashev civilizations. A Fermi bubble would grow as the civilization creating it colonized space, according to Carrigan... Searching for signatures of cosmic-scale archaeological artifacts such as Dyson spheres or Kardashev civilizations is an interesting alternative to conventional SETI. Uncovering such an artifact does not require the intentional transmission of a signal on the part of the original civilization... James...
  • Gravitational Mesolensing And The Hunt For Exoplanets

    03/18/2012 7:02:22 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    Scientific American 'blogs ^ | March 7, 2012 | Caleb A. Scharf | Life, Unbounded
    When astronomers talk about methods for finding exoplanets the list is relatively short. There is the radial velocity, or 'wobble' technique, which senses the motion of a star around a common center-of-mass with its planets. There is the transit technique, employed with great success by NASA's Kepler mission, and there are direct imaging and phase-photometry techniques -- challenging observations that seek the light being actually emitted or reflected from a planet. And then there is gravitational microlensing, the chance magnification of the light from a distant star by the distortion in spacetime due to the mass of a foreground star...
  • Astronomers unveil first Large Binocular Telescope findings

    03/17/2012 11:21:32 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    Laser Focus World ^ | Thursday, March 15, 2012 | John Wallace
    Today, astronomers at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) released the first series of scientific results from the LBT, including images of extrasolar planets. The LBT has two 8.4 m borosilicate glass honeycomb primary mirrors spaced apart 14.4 m center-to-center, allowing the IR telescope to achieve the diffraction-limited imaging of a single mirror with a 22.8 m aperture. Adaptive-optics secondary mirrors correct for atmospheric turbulence. The LBT is located on Mt. Graham in southeastern Arizona. "With this unrivaled new technology, we can now probe the close-in environments of nearby stars with a clarity that was previously not possible," said Richard Green,...
  • Artist's Concept: Compact Planetary System

    03/17/2012 11:17:15 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies · 1+ views
    SpaceRef ^ | Wednesday, March 14, 2012 | NASA HQ
    This artist's concept depicts a planetary system so compact that it's more like Jupiter and its moons than a star and its planets. Astronomers using data from NASA's Kepler mission and ground-based telescopes recently confirmed that the system, called KOI-961, hosts the three smallest exoplanets currently known to orbit a star other than our sun. An exoplanet is a planet that resides outside of our solar system. The star, which is located about 130 light-years away in the Cygnus constellation, is a red dwarf that is one-sixth the size of the sun, or just 70 percent bigger than Jupiter. The...
  • Many Solar System Comets May Be Sun's Stolen Goods

    03/17/2012 11:10:14 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    Space dot com ^ | February 28, 2012 | Clara Moskowitz
    At least 5 percent of the comets orbiting our sun may have been stolen from other stars, scientists say. Our solar system is thought to include trillions of comets -- small chunks of rock and ice -- that circle the sun in a spherical swarm called the Oort cloud, a region that extendsabout 100,000 times the distance from the Earth to the sun in any direction. The average distance between the Earth and sun is 93 million miles (150 million kilometers). Now scientists suggest that many of these bodies may actually have originated around other stars and were snatched up...
  • The Lost Siblings of the Sun

    03/12/2012 3:32:13 PM PDT · by U-238 · 28 replies · 1+ views
    Sky and Telescope ^ | 3/10/2009 | Alan MacRobert
    Most stars are born in clusters rather than singly, and there’s plenty of evidence that the Sun was too. For one thing, the material of the infant solar system (as preserved in the earliest meteorites) was enriched by fresh supernova debris from at least one very young, massive star (having 15 to 25 solar masses) that exploded less than 5 light-years away, no more than 2 million years after the Sun's formation. Today no such massive star exists within 300 light-years of the Sun. Clearly, the early solar system had stars close around it. But that was 4.57 billion years...
  • How Many Loose Planets in the Milky Way?

    03/10/2012 11:28:34 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 83 replies
    Sky & Telescope ^ | February 29, 2012 | Monica Young
    Researchers at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) at Stanford University estimate that "nomad" planets, ejected from their home stellar system and now free-floating through the Milky Way, could outnumber stars by as many as 100,000 to 1. Earlier estimates were more like a handful to 1, though previous studies have only counted unbound planets more massive than Jupiter. To estimate the number of unbound planets as small as Pluto that could be roaming the galaxy, Louis Strigari (KIPAC), lead author of the study, began with a basic rule of nature: where a few big objects are...
  • Diet of a dying star

    03/06/2012 1:06:23 AM PST · by U-238 · 11 replies
    Science News ^ | 2/11/2012 | Nadia Drake
    Scientists are beginning to sort out the stellar ingredients that produce a type 1a supernova, a type of cosmic explosion that has been used to measure the universe’s accelerating expansion. Two teams of researchers presented new data about these supernovas at the American Astronomical Society meeting on January 11. One team confirmed a long-held suspicion about the kind of star that explodes, and the second provided new evidence for what feeds that star until it bursts. “This is a confirmation of a decades-old belief, namely that a type 1a supernova comes from the explosion of a carbon-oxygen white dwarf,” said...
  • Water not so squishy under pressure

    03/06/2012 1:09:39 AM PST · by U-238 · 11 replies
    Science News ^ | 3/5/2012 | Nadia Drake
    When squeezed to pressures and temperatures like those inside giant planets, water molecules are less squeezable than anticipated, defying a set of decades-old equations used to describe watery behavior over a range of conditions. Studying how molecules behave in such environments will help scientists better understand the formation and composition of ice giants like Uranus and Neptune, as well as those being spotted in swarms by planet hunters. The new work, which appears in the March 2 Physical Review Letters, also suggests that textbooks about planetary interiors and magnetic fields may need reworking. “At this point, it’s worth putting together...
  • Loose cable blamed for speedy neutrinos

    03/06/2012 1:16:25 AM PST · by U-238 · 41 replies
    Science News ^ | 2/23/2012 | Devin Powell
    Faulty wiring has been proposed as the glitch that caused a European physics experiment to clock particles flying faster than light. Scientists at Italy’s OPERA experiment reported in September that nearly weightless particles called neutrinos were apparently traveling from the CERN laboratory on the Swiss-French border to an underground detector in Italy, 730 kilometers away, faster than the speed of light. The apparent violation of Einstein’s theory of special relativity immediately produced a chorus of theorists offering reasons why neutrinos simply could not be going that fast (SN: 11/5/11, p. 10). “It was always clear to me that the results...
  • Official Word on Superluminal Neutrinos Leaves Warp-Drive Fans a Shred of Hope—Barely

    02/29/2012 4:45:22 PM PST · by neverdem · 13 replies · 1+ views
    ScienceInsider ^ | 24 February 2012 | Edwin Cartlidge
    The CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva has confirmed Wednesday's report that a loose fiber-optic cable may be behind measurements that seemed to show neutrinos outpacing the speed of light. But the lab also says another glitch could have caused the experiment to underestimate the particles' speed. In a statement based on an earlier press release from the OPERA collaboration, CERN said two possible "effects" may have influenced the anomalous measurements. One of them, due to a possible faulty connection between the fiber-optic cable bringing the GPS signals to OPERA and the detector's master clock, would have caused the experiment...
  • Renowned Physicist Stephen Hawking Frequents Sex Clubs

    02/29/2012 3:19:45 AM PST · by grey_whiskers · 70 replies · 7+ views
    Mark this in your book of bizarre celebrity sightings. Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking is somewhat of a regular at a Devore, California sex club, RadarOnline.com is exclusively reporting. According to a source who has been a member of Freedom Acres swingers club for nearly half a decade, Hawking, 70, shows up to the club with a bevy of nurses and assistants and has naked woman grind on him.
  • SciTechTalk: Search outside our solar system reveals a bounty of planets

    02/27/2012 5:42:50 PM PST · by KevinDavis · 12 replies
    UPI.com ^ | 02/27/12 | Jim Algar
    Mankind's knowledge of planets, limited for most of human history to our own Earth and its solar system neighbors, has exploded in the last 20 years with the discovery of hundreds of exo-planets in the cosmos, a search with the ultimate goal of finding an Earthly twin that could harbor some form of life.