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Posts Tagged ‘planets’

Scientists Discover 1 Planet Orbiting 2 Stars

September 16, 2011 Comments off

voanews

Photo: NASA
Artist’s conception of planet (dark circle) orbiting two suns

Astronomers say they have discovered a planet that orbits around a pair of stars.  It is the first time a so-called circumbinary system has been detected.

Movie fans might be familiar with the score of “Star Wars, Episode IV, A New Hope,” the blockbuster movie from 1977.  Luke Skywalker stands on his stark home planet Tatooine.  As he gazes pensively into the distance toward a pinkish sky, an orange sun descends toward the horizon, with a smaller white sun following close behind.

Well, move over, Tatooine, says John Knoll of Industrial Light and Magic, which Read more…

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Harvard Scientists Discover an “Invisible” Planet

September 13, 2011 Comments off

thecrimson

Invisible alien planet discovered Harvard scientists have discovered what they have dubbed an “invisible  planet.”

While the planet is not actually invisible, scientists inferred its existence from “the influence it’s exerting on another planet,” bypassing more traditional methods of detecting planets that rely on visible evidence, lead researcher Sarah A. Ballard said.

Ballard, who is a graduate student in astronomy, found the planet—dubbed Kepler-19c and located 650 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra—during a routine examination of data collected from Read more…

Scientists, telescope hunt massive hidden object in space

August 15, 2011 Comments off

cnn

Some scientists think a brown dwarf or gas giant bigger than Jupiter could be at the outer reaches of the solar system. In this image showing relative size, the white object at the upper left edge represents the sun.

You know how you sometimes can sense that something is present even though you can’t see it? Well, astronomers are getting that feeling about a giant, hidden object in space.

And when we say giant, we mean GIANT.

Evidence is mounting that either a brown dwarf star or a gas giant planet is lurking at the outermost reaches of our solar system, far beyond Pluto. The theoretical object, dubbed Tyche, is estimated to be four times the size of Jupiter and 15,000 times farther from the sun than Earth, according to Read more…

Darkest Planet Found: Coal-Black, It Reflects Almost No Light

August 12, 2011 Comments off
Newfound world is off-the-charts dark—and the cause is a mystery, experts say.
The newfound gas-giant planet TrES-2b is black with a slight red glow, experts estimate.

An illustration shows a newfound exoplanet. Illustration courtesy David A. Aguilar, CFA

Andrew Fazekas

It may be hard to imagine a planet blacker than coal, but that’s what astronomers say they’ve discovered in our home galaxy with NASA’s Kepler space telescope.

Orbiting only about three million miles out from its star, the Jupiter-size gas giant planet, dubbed TrES-2b, is heated to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (980 degrees Celsius). Yet the apparently inky world appears to reflect almost none of the starlight that shines on it, according to a new study.

“Being less reflective than coal or even the blackest acrylic paint—this makes it by far the darkest planet ever discovered,” lead study author David Kipping said.

“If we could see it up close it would look like a near-black ball of gas, with a slight glowing red tinge to it—a true Read more…

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Two planets found sharing one orbit

February 26, 2011 Comments off

newscientist.com

Buried in the flood of data from the Kepler telescope is a planetary system unlike any seen before. Two of its apparent planets share the same orbit around their star. If the discovery is confirmed, it would bolster a theory that Earth once shared its orbit with a Mars-sized body that later crashed into it, resulting in the moon’s formation.

The two planets are part of a four-planet system dubbed KOI-730. They circle their sun-like parent star every 9.8 days at exactly the same orbital distance, one permanently about 60 degrees ahead of the other. In the night sky of one planet, the other world must appear as a constant, blazing light, never fading or brightening.

Gravitational “sweet spots” make this possible. When one Read more…

68 New Earths and 288 New Super Earths: The New Kepler exoplanet data – NASA videos and pictures

February 3, 2011 Comments off

NASA press release on the 1202 new Kepler telescope exoplanets.

Exoplanets classified by size which are:

- 68 Earth-size exoplanets with a radius (Rp) of less than 1.25 Earth radius (Re)
- 288 super-Earth size exoplanets with 1.25 x Re < Rp ≤ 2.0 x Re - 662 Neptune-size exoplanets with 2.0 x Re < Rp ≤ 6.0 x Re - 165
Jupiter-size exoplanets with 6.0 x Re < Rp ≤ 15 x Re - 19
very-large-size with 15.0 x Re < Rp ≤ 22 x Re

“We went from zero to 68 Earth-sized planet candidates and zero to 54 candidates in the habitable zone – a region where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface. Some candidates could even have moons with liquid water,” said William Borucki of NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., and the Kepler Mission’s science principal investigator. “Five of the planetary candidates are both near Earth-size and orbit in the habitable zone of their parent stars.”

Kepler will continue conducting science operations until at least November 2012, searching for planets as small as Earth, including those that orbit stars in a warm habitable zone where liquid water could exist on the surface of the planet. Since transits of planets in the habitable zone of solar-like stars occur about once a year and require three transits for verification, it is expected to Read more…