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Huge Planet Haul – 715 New Worlds Discovered

NASA February 26, 2014 NASA’s Kepler mission announced Wednesday the discovery of 715 new planets. These newly-verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system. Nearly 95 percent of these planets are smaller than Neptune, which is almost four times the size of Earth. This discovery marks a significant increase in the number of known ... Read More »

Large Explosion Seen on the Moon

Coconut Science Lab February 24, 2014 A large impact was observed on the moon at 8:07pm GMT, on September 11, 2013, from a small asteroid (boulder) impact. The object was traveling at approximately 37,900 mph (61,000 kph) at time of impact, and its weight was estimated at 880 lbs (400 kilograms). The energy of the impact was estimated to be ... Read More »

Like Spiders, Pulsars Eat Their Mates

NASA February 20, 2014 Black widow spiders and their Australian cousins, known as redbacks, are notorious for their tainted love, expressed as an unsettling tendency to kill and devour their male partners. Astronomers have noted similar behavior among two rare breeds of binary system that contain rapidly spinning neutron stars, also known as pulsars. “The essential features of black widow ... Read More »

New View of the Brilliant Messier 7 in Scorpius

ESO February 19, 2014 A new image from ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile shows the bright star cluster Messier 7. Easily spotted with the naked eye close to the tail of the constellation of Scorpius, it is one of the most prominent open clusters of stars in the sky — making it an important astronomical research target. Messier 7, ... Read More »

Latest Kepler Discovery: A Planet That Wobbles

NASA JPL February 05, 2014 Imagine living on a planet with seasons so erratic you would hardly know whether to wear Bermuda shorts or a heavy overcoat. That is the situation on a weird, wobbly world found by NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope. The planet, designated Kepler-413b, precesses, or wobbles, wildly on its spin axis, much like a child’s top. ... Read More »

Scientists Create Weather Map of Nearby Brown Dwarf

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Water Discovered Around Dwarf Planet Ceres

ESA January 22, 2014 ESA’s Herschel space observatory has discovered water vapour around Ceres, the first unambiguous detection of water vapour around an object in the asteroid belt. With a diameter of 950 km, Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. But unlike most asteroids, Ceres is almost spherical ... Read More »

Planet Found Around Sun-Like Star in Star Cluster

ESO January 16, 2014 Astronomers have used ESO’s HARPS planet hunter in Chile, along with other telescopes around the world, to discover three planets orbiting stars in the cluster Messier 67. Although more than one thousand planets outside the Solar System are now confirmed, only a handful have been found in star clusters. Remarkably one of these new exoplanets is ... Read More »

Powerful New Instrument Directly Images Planets

Gemini Observatory January 08, 2014 After nearly a decade of development, construction, and testing, the world’s most advanced instrument for directly imaging and analyzing planets around other stars is pointing skyward and collecting light from distant worlds. The instrument, called the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), was designed, built, and optimized for imaging faint planets next to bright stars and probing ... Read More »

Hubble Sees Clouds on Two Super-Worlds

NASA December 31, 2013 Scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have characterized the atmospheres of two of the most common type of planets in the Milky Way galaxy and found both may be blanketed with clouds. The planets are GJ 436b, located 36 light-years from Earth in the constellation Leo, and GJ 1214b, 40 light-years away in the constellation Ophiuchus. ... Read More »

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