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Latest Kepler Stories

rolling martian boulder
2014-08-14 10:14:04

Guy Webster, Jet Propulsion Laboratory A track about one-third of a mile (500 meters) long on Mars shows where an irregularly shaped boulder careened downhill to its current upright position, seen in a July 3, 2014, image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The shadow cast by the rock in mid-afternoon sunlight reveals it is about 20 feet (6 meters) tall. In the downward-looking image, the boulder is only about...

hunting for exomoons
2014-08-12 08:51:02

University of Texas at Arlington Scientists hunting for life beyond Earth have discovered more than 1,800 planets outside our solar system, or exoplanets, in recent years, but so far, no one has been able to confirm an exomoon. Now, physicists from The University of Texas at Arlington believe following a trail of radio wave emissions may lead them to that discovery. Their recent findings, published in the Aug. 10 issue of The Astrophysical Journal, describe radio wave emissions that...

super earth Kepler-93b
2014-07-24 03:00:38

Whitney Clavin, Jet Propulsion Laboratory Thanks to NASA's Kepler and Spitzer Space Telescopes, scientists have made the most precise measurement ever of the radius of a planet outside our solar system. The size of the exoplanet, dubbed Kepler-93b, is now known to an uncertainty of just 74 miles (119 kilometers) on either side of the planetary body. [ Watch: ScienceCasts: Sizing Up An Exoplanet ] The findings confirm Kepler-93b as a "super-Earth" that is about one-and-a-half times...

Kepler-421b
2014-07-22 05:09:31

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online The time that it takes for a planet, or planetary satellite, to orbit its star is considered the planet's year. For example, Earth's year is approximately 365 days, while Mercury's is 88 days and Mar's year is 687 days long. A group of astronomers working at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) has discovered a transiting exoplanet, named Kepler 421b, with the longest known year of any of the 1,800 exoplanets...

James Webb Space Telescope
2014-07-15 08:58:58

NASA Many scientists believe we are not alone in the universe. It's probable, they say, that life could have arisen on at least some of the billions of planets thought to exist in our galaxy alone -- just as it did here on planet Earth. This basic question about our place in the Universe is one that may be answered by scientific investigations. What are the next steps to finding life elsewhere? Experts from NASA and its partner institutions addressed this question on Monday, July 14, at...

exoplanet Artist concept
2014-07-12 04:15:39

John P. Millis, Ph.D. for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online The holy grail of planetary astronomy is to find a solar system that mirrors our own. While a lot of effort has been placed on finding a planet with Earth-like properties – the right size, an atmosphere, the right temperature – are of equal importance in the search for a Sun-like star. Such a glowing orb would need to have a similar mass, temperature, and spectral type. These parameters are somewhat easy to measure, but...

Two Ancient Worlds Discovered In Neighboring Galactic Cluster
2014-06-04 07:02:00

Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Using new data from the HARPS spectrometer at the ESO’s La Silla observatory in Chile, an international team of scientists have discovered two exoplanets orbiting a nearby ancient star. Kapteyn’s star, named after Jacobus Kapteyn, who discovered the star in the 19th century, is a red dwarf and one of the two planets in its grasp sits at the right spot where life could form. Led by Queen Mary University of London, the...

Two Planets Will Be Eaten By Their Star
2014-06-02 03:21:55

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Two worlds orbiting a distant star are about to become a snack of cosmic proportions. Astronomers announced on Monday that the planets Kepler-56b and Kepler-56c will be swallowed by their star in a short time by astronomical standards. Their ends will come in 130 million and 155 million years, respectively. "As far as we know, this is the first time two known exoplanets in a single system have a predicted 'time of death,'" says lead author...

Exoplanets Come In Three "Neapolitan" Flavors
2014-06-02 03:09:48

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics The planets of our solar system come in two basic flavors, like vanilla and chocolate ice cream. We have small, rocky terrestrials like Earth and Mars, and large gas giants like Neptune and Jupiter. We're missing the astronomical equivalent of strawberry ice cream - planets between about one and four times the size of Earth. NASA's Kepler mission has discovered that these types of planets are very common around other stars. New research...

Astronomers Discover The "Mega-Earth"
2014-06-02 03:30:17

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Astronomers announced on Monday that they have discovered a new type of planet - a rocky world weighing 17 times as much as Earth. Theorists believed such a world couldn't form because anything so hefty would grab hydrogen gas as it grew and become a Jupiter-like gas giant. This planet, though, is all solids and much bigger than previously discovered "super-Earths," making it a "mega-Earth." "We were very surprised when we realized what we had...


Word of the Day
jument
  • A beast of burden; also, a beast in general.
'Jument' ultimately comes from the Latin 'jugum,' yoke.
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