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Latest Planet Stories

Potential Life On Red-Dwarf Planets May Be Doomed Due To Harsh Space Weather
2014-06-02 03:34:30

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Life in the universe might be even rarer than we thought. Recently, astronomers looking for potentially habitable worlds have targeted red dwarf stars because they are the most common type of star, comprising 80 percent of the stars in the universe. But a new study shows that harsh space weather might strip the atmosphere of any rocky planet orbiting in a red dwarf's habitable zone. "A red-dwarf planet faces an extreme space environment, in...

Hazy Titan Sunsets Help In Research Of Exoplanet Atmospheres
2014-05-28 06:49:53

Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online By studying a hazy sunset on Titan via the Cassini spacecraft, scientists are learning new ways to better understand the atmospheres of exoplanets orbiting distant stars. Scientists developed a new technique based on the data provided by NASA’s Cassini mission that shows how hazy skies could impact the ability to study alien worlds. "It turns out there's a lot you can learn from looking at a sunset," Tyler Robinson, a NASA...

solar system formation
2014-05-21 04:49:15

John P. Millis, Ph.D. for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online How do solar systems form? Specifically, why do some systems form smaller rocky worlds, while others are dominated by gas giants? A recent study led by Trey Mack, a graduate student in astronomy at Vanderbilt University, may have found the answer. Stars are dominated by hydrogen and helium, possessing only trace amounts of other elements – what astronomers generically call “metals”. Mack proposed looking at ratios of...

What Would Happen If Saturn Came Extremely Close To Earth?
2014-05-14 07:38:35

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online While astronomers enjoyed the best view of Saturn this past weekend, an animator created a new video depicting what would happen if the people of Earth got an extreme close-up of the sixth planet from the Sun. According to Laurel Kornfeld of The Space Reporter, Saturn reached opposition on May 10, which means that it and the Earth were on opposite sides of the Sun. The ringed planet was also at its closest distance to our world...

Finding An Exoplanet That Takes 80,000 Earth Years To Orbit Its Sun
2014-05-14 05:40:33

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Using observations from multiple observation facilities, an international team of astronomers has identified a very unusual planet that takes around 80,000 Earth years to orbit its sun. The planet, dubbed GU Psc b, was determined to be 2,000 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun from its own star – a new record for exoplanets. The team said they were able to detect this highly unusual planet by detecting the light coming...

earth rotation ask a scientist
2014-05-12 13:43:55

John P. Millis, Ph.D. for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online This article is the latest installment in a new series where redOrbit's in-house experts will answer questions submitted by you, the reader. Got a science or space question that's stumping you? Each week we'll select a handful of the wiliest questions you can whip up to tease the brains of our resident gurus (we like call them ‘geeks’). Question: “Why does earth rotate? And if it is for conserving angular momentum,...

Uranus
2014-05-02 04:00:57

NASA/JPL NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured its first-ever image of the pale blue ice-giant planet Uranus in the distance beyond Saturn's rings. The robotic spacecraft briefly turned its gaze away from the ringed beauty of Saturn on April 11, 2014, to observe the distant planet, which is the seventh planet from the sun. The planets Uranus and Neptune are sometimes referred to as "ice giants" to distinguish them from their larger siblings, Jupiter and Saturn, the classic "gas...

Artist’s impression of the planet Beta Pictoris b
2014-04-30 12:55:00

European Southern Observatory VLT measures the spin of Beta Pictoris b Observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) have, for the first time, determined the rotation rate of an exoplanet. Beta Pictoris b has been found to have a day that lasts only eight hours. This is much quicker than any planet in the Solar System — its equator is moving at almost 100,000 kilometers per hour. This new result extends the relation between mass and rotation seen in the Solar System to...

Search For Life On Exoplanets May Be More Difficult Than Previously Thought
2014-04-30 03:25:19

Don Campbell, University of Toronto Scarborough A new study from the University of Toronto Scarborough suggests the search for life on planets outside our solar system may be more difficult than previously thought. The study, authored by a team of international researchers led by UTSC Assistant Professor Hanno Rein from the Department of Physical and Environmental Science, finds the method used to detect biosignatures on such planets, known as exoplanets, can produce a false positive...

wise brown dwarf
2014-04-25 12:21:48

NASA NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered what appears to be the coldest "brown dwarf" known -- a dim, star-like body that, surprisingly, is as frosty as Earth's North Pole. Images from the space telescopes also pinpointed the object's distance to 7.2 light-years away, earning it the title for fourth closest system to our sun. The closest system, a trio of stars, is Alpha Centauri, at about 4 light-years away. "It's very...


Latest Planet Reference Libraries

Planetary Astronomy
2014-01-12 00:00:00

Image Caption: Artistic concept of a planetary system. Credit: Wikipedia/NASA/JPL-Caltech The term Astronomy encompasses a broad range of topics, including the study of stars, galaxies, and planets. In order to focus on the different areas of study, many subfields of astronomy emerge. One such area is the study of planets known, appropriately, as Planetary Astronomy. Observational Planetary Astronomy Even within the field of Planetary Astronomy, there are several divisions to...

Planetary and Space Science
2012-05-28 10:21:45

Planetary and Space Science is a peer-reviewed scientific journal established in 1959 and published by Elsevier 15 times per year. As of May 2012, the editor-in-chief is Rita Schulz (The Netherlands). The journal publishes original research articles and short communications. The main focus is on solar system processes which encompass multiple areas of the natural sciences. Research that involves planetary and space sciences involves many disciplines. Celestial mechanics is part of these...

8_0a0df4f1bee06ec8e535aec78634f0a12
2004-10-19 04:45:44

Terraforming -- Terraforming (literally, "Earth-shaping") is the process of modifying a planet, moon or other body to a more habitable atmosphere, temperature or ecology. The term was first used in a science fiction novel, 'Seetee Shock' (1940?) by Jack Williamson, but the actual concept is older than that. An example in fiction is 'First and Last Men' by Olaf Stapledon in which Venus is modified, after a long and destructive war with the original inhabitants, who naturally object to the...

8_2c71772f2c3a31994d5208d4518632494
2004-10-19 04:45:44

Cosmogony -- Cosmogony is the study of the origins of celestial objects. It is most commonly used to refer to the study of the origin of the solar system. Currently, the most widely accepted theory is that the solar system was formed roughly 5 billion years ago with the collapse of a nebula of gas and dust, likely caused by shock waves generated by a nearby supernova. The solar system would have formed as a member of a star cluster, now long-since dispersed throughout the Milky Way over...

7_a23a0395183f2368aec4b62e1b9470672
2004-10-19 04:45:43

Terrestrial Planet Finder -- The Terrestrial Planet Finder is a proposed NASA telescope system capable of detecting extrasolar terrestrial planets. In May 2002, NASA chose two TPF mission architecture concepts for further study and technology development. Each would use a different means to achieve the same goal - to block the light from a parent star in order to see its much smaller, dimmer planets. That technology challenge has been likened to finding a firefly near the beam of...

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Word of the Day
cock-a-hoop
  • Exultant; jubilant; triumphant; on the high horse.
  • Tipsy; slightly intoxicated.
This word may come from the phrase 'to set cock on hoop,' or 'to drink festively.' Its origin otherwise is unclear. A theory, according to the Word Detective, is that it's a 'transliteration of the French phrase 'coq a huppe,' meaning a rooster displaying its crest ('huppe') in a pose of proud defiance.' Therefore, 'cock-a-hoop' would 'liken a drunken man to a boastful and aggressive rooster.'
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