Latest Planetary systems Stories

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...

2008-09-15 18:35:00

A Canadian team of scientists have made an unprecedented discovery: an image of a planet outside of Earth's Solar System which appears to be circling a star like the sun. The newly discovered planet lies about 500 light-years from Earth and has a mass of about eight times that of Jupiter. It is the first discovered to be orbiting a star rather than brown dwarfs, which are dim. The star, appears to be similar to our Sun, but may be somewhat younger, experts said.  Distance between the...

2008-09-08 10:35:00

Astronomers have been able to study planet-forming discs around young Sun-like stars in unsurpassed detail, clearly revealing the motion and distribution of the gas in the inner parts of the disc. This result, which possibly implies the presence of giant planets, was made possible by the combination of a very clever method enabled by ESO's Very Large Telescope. Planets could be home to other forms of life, so the study of exoplanets ranks very high in contemporary astronomy. More than 300...

2008-08-14 16:41:06

Each evening, I go outside and look overhead at the Summer Triangle: three bright stars high above my home in California. Then I dream about what will happen when we find another Earth, a habitable planet around a distant sun. In less than a year, the first actual observations to make this dream come true will be underway with NASA's Kepler mission. Kepler is NASA's first mission capable of finding Earth-size and smaller planets in the habitable zone of distant stars. The Kepler...

2008-08-09 09:00:00

New computer simulations put solar system in universal perspective Prevailing theoretical models attempting to explain the formation of the solar system have assumed it to be average in every way. Now a new study by Northwestern University astronomers, using recent data from the 300 exoplanets discovered orbiting other stars, turns that view on its head. The solar system, it turns out, is pretty special indeed. The study illustrates that if early conditions had been just slightly different,...

2008-07-24 09:05:00

A team of European scientists working with COROT have discovered an exoplanet orbiting a star slightly more massive than the Sun. After just 555 days in orbit, the mission has now observed more than 50,000 stars and is adding significantly to our knowledge of the fundamental workings of stars. The latest discovery, COROT-exo-4b is an exoplanet of about the same size as Jupiter. It takes 9.2 days to orbit its star, the longest period for any transiting exoplanet ever found. The team has found...

2008-06-16 07:35:00

A harvest of low-mass exoplanets discovered with HARPS Today, at an international conference, a team of European astronomers announced a remarkable breakthrough in the field of extra-solar planets. Using the HARPS instrument at the ESO La Silla Observatory, they have found a triple system of super-Earths around the star HD 40307. Moreover, looking at their entire sample studied with HARPS, the astronomers count a total of 45 candidate planets with a mass below 30 Earth masses and an orbital...

2008-06-02 13:40:00

Newly discovered extrasolar planet is the smallest known and has smallest host starAn international team of astronomers led by David Bennett of the University of Notre Dame has discovered an extra-solar planet of about three Earth masses orbiting a star with a mass so low that its core may not be large enough to maintain nuclear reactions. The result was presented Monday (June 2) at the American Astronomical Society annual meeting in St. Louis.The planet, referred to as MOA-2007-BLG-192Lb,...

2008-04-15 09:10:00

By studying in great detail the 'ringing' of a planet-harboring star, a team of astronomers using ESO's 3.6-m telescope have shown that it must have drifted away from the metal-rich Hyades cluster. This discovery has implications for theories of star and planet formation, and for the dynamics of our Milky Way.The yellow-orange star Iota Horologii, located 56 light-years away towards the southern Horologium ("The Clock") constellation, belongs to the so-called "Hyades stream", a large number...

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
  • A small crescent-shaped structure or marking, especially the white area at the base of a fingernail that resembles a half-moon.
This word is a diminutive of the Latin 'luna,' moon.