Latest Planetary systems Stories

2008-12-16 16:35:00

Some stars have it tough when it comes to raising planets. A new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows one unlucky lot of stars, born into a dangerous neighborhood. The stars themselves are safe, but the material surrounding them -- the dusty bits of what might have been future planets -- can be seen blowing off into space. The hazard in this particular nook of space is a group of behemoth stars. Radiation and winds from the massive stars are wiping smaller, sun-like stars clean of...

2008-11-21 09:10:00

A team of French astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope have discovered an object located very close to the star Beta Pictoris, and which apparently lies inside its disc. With a projected distance from the star of only 8 times the Earth-Sun distance, this object is most likely the giant planet suspected from the peculiar shape of the disc and the previously observed infall of comets onto the star. It would then be the first image of a planet that is as close to its host star as Saturn...

2008-11-19 08:10:00

A team of astronomers from Penn State and Nicolaus Copernicus University in Poland has discovered a new planet that is closely orbiting a red-giant star, HD 102272, which is much older than our own Sun. The planet has a mass that is nearly six times that of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. The team includes Alexander Wolszczan, the discoverer of the first planets ever found outside our solar system, who is an Evan Pugh Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the director...

2008-11-14 00:05:00

Two teams of astronomers have captured the first images of a distant solar system that appears to be orbiting a star. The images show three planets orbiting a star named HR8799, which is 140 light years away and about 1.5 times the size of our sun. The fourth gaseous planet orbits a separate star. The three planets in orbit around HR8799 range in size from five to 13 times the mass of Jupiter and are probably only about 60 million years old. They decrease in size away from the parent star in...

2008-11-13 15:40:00

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has taken the first visible-light snapshot of a planet circling another star. Estimated to be no more than three times Jupiter's mass, the planet, called Fomalhaut b, orbits the bright southern star Fomalhaut, located 25 light-years away in the constellation Piscis Australis (the Southern Fish). Fomalhaut has been a candidate for planet hunting ever since an excess of dust was discovered around the star in the early 1980s by NASA's Infrared Astronomy Satellite...

2008-11-11 13:32:15

Shock waves around dusty, young stars might be creating the raw materials for planets, according to new observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The evidence comes in the form of tiny crystals. Spitzer detected crystals similar in make-up to quartz around young stars just beginning to form planets. The crystals, called cristobalite and tridymite, are known to reside in comets, in volcanic lava flows on Earth, and in some meteorites that land on Earth. Astronomers already knew that...

2008-10-27 13:00:00

New observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope indicate that the nearest planetary system to our own has two asteroid belts. Our own solar system has just one.The star at the center of the nearby system, called Epsilon Eridani, is a younger, slightly cooler and fainter version of the sun. Previously, astronomers had uncovered evidence for two possible planets in the system, and for a broad, outer ring of icy comets similar to our own Kuiper Belt.Now, Spitzer has discovered that the...

2008-10-10 18:00:06

MESSAGES to a planet which closely resembles Earth were yesterday beamed into space. Some 501 - from Sir Patrick Moore, McFly and TV nutritionist Gillian McKeith among others - will take more than 20 years to reach Gliese 581c. The planet, 120 trillion miles away and discovered last year, is the closest body to us which appears to be suitable for life. Pictures of personalities such as Hillary Clinton and Richard and Judy have also been transmitted. (c) 2008 Daily Mirror. Provided...

2008-09-24 11:00:00

Two terrestrial planets orbiting a mature sun-like star some 300 light-years from Earth recently suffered a violent collision, astronomers at UCLA, Tennessee State University and the California Institute of Technology will report in a December issue of the Astrophysical Journal, the premier journal of astronomy and astrophysics. "It's as if Earth and Venus collided with each other," said Benjamin Zuckerman, UCLA professor of physics and astronomy and a co-author on the paper. "Astronomers...

2008-09-22 00:05:00

Enormous masses of dust floating around a binary star system suggest that two Earth-like planets demolished each other in a violent collision. "It's as if Earth and Venus collided with each other," said Benjamin Zuckerman, an astronomer at the University of California Los Angeles, who worked on the study. "Astronomers have never seen anything like this before; apparently major, catastrophic, collisions can take place in a fully mature planetary system." The team from UCLA, Tennessee State...

Latest Planetary systems Reference Libraries

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...

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Solar Nebula -- In astronomy, the solar nebula is the gaseous cloud from which, in the so-called nebular hypothesis of the origin of the solar system, the Sun and planets formed by condensation. In 1755 the German philosopher Immanuel Kant suggested that a nebula in slow rotation, gradually pulled together by its own gravitational force and flattened into a spinning disk, gave birth to the Sun and planets. A similar model, but with the planets being formed before the Sun, was proposed...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Extrasolar Planet -- An extrasolar planet is a planet orbiting around a star other than the Sun. Extrasolar planets were first discovered in the 1990s as a result of improved telescope technology, CCD and computer-based image processing which allowed far more accurate measurements of stellar motions. The first extrasolar planets were reported by the astronomer Aleksander Wolszczan in 1993, orbiting the pulsar PSR 1257+12. Subsequent investigation has determined that they are only planets...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Asteroid Belt -- The Asteroid belt is a region of the solar system falling roughly between the planets Mars and Jupiter where the greatest concentration of asteroid orbits can be found. It is believed that, during the first million years of the solar system history, planets formed by accretion of planetesimals. Ripetute collisions led to the familiar rocky planets and to the gas giant's cores. However, in this zone of the system the strong gravity of Jupiter inhibited the final stages...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Epsilon Eridani -- Epsilon Eridani is a main-sequence star in the constellation of Eridanus (the river). It is often used in science fiction because it is extremely sunlike, and in the fictional Star Trek universe it is the home sun of the planet Vulcan which is home to Mr. Spock. It is the third closest star visible without a telescope. It has 85% of the Sun's mass, almost that much of its diameter, and 28% of its luminosity. It is 10.5 light years from Earth. Its spectrum is...

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Word of the Day
  • The call or cry of a bird or other animal to its mate or its young.
'Call-note' is newer than 'bird-call,' which originally referred to 'an instrument for imitating the note of birds' but now also refers to 'the song or cry of a bird.'