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Keyword: xplanets

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  • Look at This Fascinating Variety of Planet-Forming Disks Around Other Stars

    04/13/2018 6:44:13 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 10 replies
    The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has released a stunning collection of images of the circumstellar discs that surround young stars. The images were captured with the SPHERE (Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch) instrument on the ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. We’ve been looking at images of circumstellar disks for quite some time, but this collection reveals the fascinating variety of shapes an sizes that these disks can take.
  • Escape from Proxima b

    04/16/2018 1:36:42 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 27 replies
    Scientific American ^ | 4/16/18 | Abraham Loeb
    A civilization in the habitable zone of a dwarf star like Proxima Centauri might find it hard to get into interstellar space with conventional rocketsAlmost all space missions launched so far by our civilization have been based on chemical propulsion. The fundamental limitation here is easy to understand: a rocket is pushed forward by ejecting burnt fuel gases backwards through its exhaust. The characteristic composition and temperature of the burnt fuel set the exhaust speed to a typical value of a few kilometers per second. Momentum conservation implies that the terminal speed of the rocket is given by this exhaust...
  • Substantial Lack Of Phosphorus In The Universe Makes Finding Alien Life Unlikely

    04/05/2018 11:49:13 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 56 replies
    Tech Times ^ | 4/5/18 | Allan Adamson
    Amid efforts to find alien life, scientists have not yet confirmed the existence of an extraterrestrial civilization. Findings of a new study suggest this has something do with the element phosphorus lacking in the cosmos. Life-Giving PhosphorusPhosphorus is the 11th most common element on Earth, and it is fundamental to all living things. Phosphorus is one of only six chemical elements on our planet that organisms depend on. "[Phosphorus] helps form the backbone of the long chains of nucleotides that create RNA and DNA; it is part of the phospholipids in cell membranes; and is a building block of the...
  • The Alien Observatory --"We May Soon Discover Worlds That Host Lifeforms with Strange...

    04/02/2018 6:23:28 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 46 replies
    In 2016, NASA sequenced DNA in space for the first time, but alien life, we may soon discover, may be vastly different on other planets and moons, particularly as we expand our efforts to explore ocean worlds with our solar system and beyond. “Most strategies for life detection rely upon finding features known to be associated with Earth's life, such as particular classes of molecules,” the researchers wrote. DNA and RNA are the building blocks of life on Earth, but the molecules of life might differ substantially on another planet. A new paper by scientists at Georgetown University, published online...
  • Hunting galaxies in Leo the Lion

    04/01/2018 4:56:21 AM PDT · by SandRat · 25 replies
    Twitter Email Print Save Leo the Lion is one of the more recognizable constellations in the April sky. It is also a great place to point a telescope and try your hand at deep sky observing. The “deep sky” is what astronomers call the realm beyond our solar system; it is populated with galaxies, nebulae and star clusters in abundance. As winter turns to spring, our evening sky turns away from the plane of the Milky Way. Our view is directed into deep space where we find external galaxies unhindered by the obscuring gas and dust of our own galaxy....
  • Interstellar Trade Is Possible

    03/16/2018 9:36:20 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 58 replies
    Tough SF ^ | 3/21/17
    Interstellar Trade Is Possible In this post, we will detail a method for developing interstellar trade using near-future technologies and commercially realistic requirements. We will then look at the various outcomes, challenges and development models that will follow the first interstellar operation. There is now a Summary at the end of the post. A tough taskTravel between stars is hard. The distances are measured in trillions of kilometers and the space between destinations is not really empty. Attempting the crossing at interplanetary speeds is ludicrously slow; the only way is to reach velocities measured in percentages of the speed of...
  • How Did Uranus Form?

    03/09/2018 9:43:05 AM PST · by Simon Green · 83 replies
    Space.com ^ | 03/08/18 | Nola Taylor Redd,
    Although planets surround stars in the galaxy, how they form remains a subject of debate. Despite the wealth of worlds in our own solar system, scientists still aren't certain how planets are built. Currently, two theories are duking it out for the role of champion. The first and most widely accepted, core accretion, works well with the formation of the terrestrial planets but has problems with giant planets such as Uranus. The second, the disk instability method, may account for the creation of giant planets. "What separates the ice giants from the gas giants is their formation history: during...
  • What scientists found trapped in a diamond: a type of ice not known on Earth

    03/09/2018 10:09:59 AM PST · by Red Badger · 28 replies
    www.orlandosentinel.com ^ | 03-09-2018 | Deborah Netburn
    Trapped in the rigid structure of diamonds formed deep in the Earth’s crust, scientists have discovered a form of water ice that was not previously known to occur naturally on our planet. The finding, published Thursday in Science, represents the first detection of naturally occurring ice-VII ever found on Earth. And as sometimes happens in the scientific process, it was discovered entirely by accident. Ice-VII is about one and a half times as dense as the regular ice we put in our drinks and skate on in winter, and the crystalline structure of its atoms is different as well. In...
  • Scientist Says He's Found Fossilized Alien Footprints On Mars, Blames NASA For Cover-up

    03/06/2018 10:49:22 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 42 replies
    BGR Media ^ | March 5th, 2018 | Mike Wehner
    ...there's been no concrete evidence of life ever having existed on the Red Planet -- that is, if you believe the official version of things. Barry DiGregorio, a researcher with the University of Buckingham, doesn't buy it, and he says he's already discovered clues to Mars' past in the form of fossilized alien tracks. Now, he's trying to get others on board with his theory and blow the top off of an alleged NASA cover-up in the process. DiGregorio... believes previously-released NASA imagery from the planet offers clear evidence of Martian tracks. He believes photos showing small indentations in rock...
  • If We Receive a Message From Aliens, Should We Delete it Without Reading it?

    02/13/2018 1:12:06 AM PST · by LibWhacker · 73 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 2/13/18 | Matt Williams
    Roughly half a century ago, Cornell astronomer Frank Drake conducted Project Ozma, the first systematic SETI survey at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia. Since that time, scientists have conducted multiple surveys in the hopes of find indications of “technosignatures” – i.e. evidence of technologically-advanced life (such as radio communications). To put it plainly, if humanity were to receive a message from an extra-terrestrial civilization right now, it would be the single-greatest event in the history of civilization. But according to a new study, such a message could also pose a serious risk to humanity. Drawing...
  • Meet TESS, NASA’s Next Step in the Quest for Alien Earths

    03/02/2018 3:39:16 PM PST · by LibWhacker · 21 replies
    Scientific American ^ | 3/1/18 | Irene Klotz
    In a clean room inside a clean room at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, a petite telescope is perched on a stand for a final series of checkouts prior to launch. The extra fastidiousness is because the observatory’s four cameras will fly without protective covers—one of several simplifying design decisions made to help ensure the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, will meet its goal of measuring the masses of at least 50 small, rocky and potentially Earth-like worlds as part of the first all-sky, exoplanet survey. TESS was proposed even before NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope, launched in 2009, demonstrated...
  • 314 Action Wants to Elect Scientists, But Only if They're Democrats

    02/28/2018 7:33:52 AM PST · by Heartlander · 18 replies
    ACSH ^ | February 22, 2018 | Alex Berezow
    314 Action Wants to Elect Scientists, But Only if They're Democrats The U.S. Congress is made up mostly of professional politicians and lawyers. This comes as a surprise to precisely no one, but the sheer numbers are rather striking.According to the Congressional Research Service (PDF, Table 2), the 115th Congress consists of 168 Representatives (out of 435) who are lawyers, and the Senate has 50 lawyers (out of 100). Combined, lawyers make up nearly 41% of Congress.How many lawyers are in the U.S.? One law firm (with a nifty interactive map!) estimates roughly 1.3 million. Given that the U.S. population...
  • Survey suggests group of Milky Way stars are homegrown, not alien invaders

    02/26/2018 4:07:30 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 6 replies
    upi ^ | Feb. 26, 2018 at 4:08 PM | Brooks Hays 
    Like our sun, the majority of the Milky Way's stars are located within the galaxy's central disk. A comparatively smaller portion of stars can be found distributed throughout the galaxy's outer halo. The star aren't scattered randomly, however. Many of them can be organized into large-scale structures -- structures astronomers believe hold clues to the Milky Way's violent past. Scientists believe at least some of these stellar structures are the remnants of smaller galaxies that have collided with and were absorbed by the Milky Way. As part of the latest study, astronomers analyzed the properties of 14 stars located within...
  • Proxima Centauri's No Good, Very Bad Day

    02/27/2018 2:25:58 AM PST · by zeestephen · 15 replies
    Science Daily ^ | 26 February 2018
    Astronomers have detected a massive stellar flare -- an energetic explosion of radiation -- from the closest star to our own Sun, Proxima Centauri, which occurred last March. This finding raises questions about the habitability of our Solar System's nearest exoplanetary neighbor, Proxima b [an Earth-like planet], which orbits Proxima Centauri.
  • WHAT MYSTERIES LURK AT PROXIMA CENTAURI?

    02/23/2018 9:21:36 PM PST · by MtnClimber · 41 replies
    SYFYWire ^ | 22 Feb, 2017 | Phil Plait
    Despite being only 4.3 light-years away from Earth, the trio of stars comprising Alpha Centauri still holds a lot of mysteries. It being the closest star system to us, you'd think we'd have teased out most of its secrets by now, but in fact we're still learning basic stuff about it. We know some of the basics, of course. The system has two stars that orbit each other in a binary, one of which (called Alpha Centauri A) is much like the Sun and the other (Alpha Cen B) is a tad smaller and cooler. Nearby is a third star,...
  • Are you rocky or are you gassy? Astronomers unlock the mysteries of super-Earths

    02/08/2018 10:45:25 AM PST · by Red Badger · 20 replies
    phys.org ^ | 02-08-2018 | Carnegie Institution for Science
    An artist's impression of a stellar system with three super-Earths. Credit: ESO. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ A star about 100 light years away in the Pisces constellation, GJ 9827, hosts what may be one of the most massive and dense super-Earth planets detected to date according to new research led by Carnegie's Johanna Teske. This new information provides evidence to help astronomers better understand the process by which such planets form. The GJ 9827 star actually hosts a trio of planets, discovered by NASA's exoplanet-hunting Kepler/K2 mission, and all three are slightly larger than Earth. This is the size that the Kepler...
  • Belgian Astronomers Named Newly-Found Planetary System After Their Favorite Beer

    03/14/2017 8:08:22 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 27 replies
    Tech Times ^ | 14 March 2017, 7:22 am EDT | Amy Gordon
    A crew of five astronomers from Belgium have discovered an exceptional planetary system and surprisingly it has got the name of their favorite beer. The planetary system has been christened TRAPPIST-1 by the astronomers after The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope or TRAPPIST. It is an arrangement of seven planets just 40 light-years away, surrounding a dwarf star. The sizes of the planets are almost similar to that of the Earth. Three of the seven planets are in the liveable area of the star to ensure that they can reinforce liquid water in the external zone and support life....
  • TRAPPIST-1 Planets Are Even More Like Earth Than We Thought

    02/05/2018 1:59:12 PM PST · by Red Badger · 27 replies
    www.popularmechanics.com ^ | 02/05/2018 | By David Grossman
    The TRAPPIST-1 system is made up seven roughly Earth-sized planets orbiting a dwarf star around 39 light-years away and is often hailed as the most likely place for life outside our solar system that we know of. A new study offers further insight into each TRAPPIST planet's biological properties and the signs are encouraging. The new research comes from scientists around the globe, including University of Bern in Germany, the Sorbonne in France, Cambridge, NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston and others. Their paper, "The nature of TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanets," shows that the planets don't have an excess of hydrogen. This...
  • The search for life on other planets could get a boost from biosignatures

    01/24/2018 10:24:50 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 19 replies
    L A Times ^ | Jan 24, 2018 | 3:25 PM | Amina Khan
    Scientists have focused on a few potentially telltale molecules, such as methane. Methane is produced in large quantities by microbes on Earth (including those in the bellies of cattle). But methane can also be produced by nonbiological sources, such as volcanoes. Molecular oxygen (two oxygen atoms bonded together) is produced in massive amounts today by photosynthesizing algae, plants and microbes. But the photosynthetic mechanism is so complicated that scientists think it evolved only once on our own planet. That means there's no guarantee of finding oxygen-producing photosynthesis on other worlds, even if life does exist there. Thus, relying on any...
  • TRAPPIST-1 system planets potentially habitable

    01/23/2018 2:23:29 PM PST · by Red Badger · 32 replies
    phys.org ^ | 01/23/2018 | Planetary Science Institute
    A size comparison of the planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system, lined up in order of increasing distance from their host star. The planetary surfaces are portrayed with an artist’s impression of their potential surface features, including water, ice, and atmospheres. Amy Barr's paper “Interior Structures and Tidal Heating in the TRAPPIST-1 Planets” shows that planets d and e are the most likely to be habitable due to their moderate surface temperatures, modest amounts of tidal heating, and because their heat fluxes are low enough to avoid entering a runaway greenhouse state. Planet d is likely covered by a global water...