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Latest Definition of planet Stories

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2010-02-24 14:20:00

Scientists have opportunity to watch a planetary "death march" An international group of astrophysicists has determined that a massive planet outside our Solar System is being distorted and destroyed by its host star "“ a finding that helps explain the unexpectedly large size of the planet, WASP-12b. It's a discovery that not only explains what's happening to WASP-12b; it also means scientists have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to observe how a planet enters this final stage of its life....

2009-08-02 20:08:31

Pluto's lowered celestial status will probably stick at an upcoming meeting of astronomers in Rio de Janeiro, an American astronomer predicted Sunday. Pluto was reduced from a full-fledged planet -- the ninth in the Earth's solar system -- to dwarf planet at a meeting of the International Astronomical Union three years ago in Prague, Czech Republic. The Houston Chronicle reported Stephen Maran, co-author of the recent book Pluto Confidential, says politics may keep the only planet discovered...

2009-05-12 13:32:53

U.S. scientists say they have created an astro-comb technology that helps astronomers detect Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars. Researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said many extrasolar planets can't be seen directly because the glare of their nearby star is too great. But although a planet might weigh millions of times less than its star, the star will be moved a tiny amount by the gravity interaction with the planet, the researchers said. That motion causes...

2008-11-24 17:19:17

A new planet closely orbiting a red giant star was found by a team of astronomers from Penn State University and Nicolaus Copernicus University. The research sheds light on ways in which aging stars can influence nearby planets, Penn State said in a news release. The discovered planet has a mass about six times that of Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system that includes Earth, said Alexander Wolszczan from Penn State and Andrzej Niedzielski of Nicolaus Copernicus University. Team...

2008-06-19 10:54:21

An icy, unknown world might lurk in the distant reaches of our solar system beyond the orbit of Pluto, according to a new computer model. The hidden world -- thought to be much bigger than Pluto based on the model -- could explain unusual features of the Kuiper Belt, a region of space beyond Neptune littered with icy and rocky bodies. Its existence would satisfy the long-held hopes and hypotheses for a "Planet X" envisioned by scientists and sci-fi buffs alike. "Although the search for a...

2008-06-14 13:27:08

Updated 6:35 p.m. ET Pluto's years-long identity crisis just got more complex today. The International Astronomical Union has decided on the term "plutoid" as a name for Pluto and other objects that just two years ago were redefined as "dwarf planets." The surprise decision is unlikely to stem ongoing controversy and confusion, astronomers say. Sidestepping concerns of many astronomers worldwide, the IAU's decision, at a meeting of its Executive Committee in Oslo, comes almost two years...

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2008-05-09 08:15:00

You know the planets of our solar system, each a unique world with its own distinctive appearance, size, and chemistry. Mars, with its bitter-cold, rusty red sands; Venus, a fiery world shrouded in thick clouds of sulfuric acid; sideways Uranus and its strange vertical rings. The variety is breathtaking. Now imagine the variety that must exist in hundreds of solar systems. There may be worlds out there that make Venus seem hospitable and Uranus positively upright. Only 20 years ago,...

2008-04-10 16:22:37

Brown dwarfs are the oddballs of the cosmos, more massive than planets but not heavy enough to generate the thermonuclear fusion that powers real stars. Now astronomers have found the coldest brown dwarf to date. The failed star might represent a new class of objects that are a missing link between planets and stars. The cold brown dwarf floats freely in space, not bound to a star. Its mass is somewhere between 15 and 30 times that of Jupiter. And it is about 660 degrees...

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2007-09-24 12:50:57

In the Star Wars movies, fictional planets are covered with forests, oceans, deserts, and volcanoes. But new models from a team of MIT, NASA, and Carnegie scientists begin to describe an even wider range of Earth-size planets that astronomers might actually be able to find in the near future. Sara Seager, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.; Marc Kuchner, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.; Catherine Hier-Majumder, Carnegie Institution of Washington,...

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2006-09-07 12:25:00

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have photographed one of the smallest objects ever seen around a normal star beyond our Sun. Weighing in at 12 times the mass of Jupiter, the object is small enough to be a planet. The conundrum is that it's also large enough to be a brown dwarf, a failed star. The Hubble observation of the diminutive companion to the low-mass red dwarf star CHXR 73 is a dramatic reminder that astronomers do not have a consensus in deciding which objects...


Word of the Day
caparison
  • A cloth or covering, more or less ornamented, laid over the saddle or furniture of a horse, especially of a sumpter-horse or horse of state.
  • Clothing, especially sumptuous clothing; equipment; outfit.
  • To cover with a caparison, as a horse.
  • To dress sumptuously; adorn with rich dress.
This word ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin 'cappa,' cloak.
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