Latest Planetary systems Stories

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...

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...

2008-04-10 10:35:00

The image on the left from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory shows the first double-sided X-ray jet ever detected from a young star. A similar jet may have been launched from the young Sun and could have had a significant impact on the early solar system.The young star, named DG Tau, is located in the Taurus star-forming region, about 450 light years from Earth. The bright source of X-rays in the middle of the image is DG Tau and the jet runs from the top left to the bottom right, extending to...

2008-04-10 09:35:00

An international team led by French and Canadian astronomers has just discovered the coldest brown dwarf ever observed. Their results will soon be published in Astronomy & Astrophysics. This new finding was made possible by the performance of telescopes worldwide*: Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) and Gemini North Telescope, both located in Hawaii, and the ESO/NTT located in Chile.The brown dwarf is named CFBDS J005910.83-011401.3 (it will be called CFBDS0059 in the following). Its...

2008-04-06 13:00:00

British astronomers have discovered a solar system similar to ours, with two planets that closely match Saturn and Jupiter orbiting a star about half the size of the Sun. The finding suggests that systems like ours could be more common that previously thought, according to Martin Dominik of St Andrews University, who added that astronomers were on the brink of discovering many more such systems.  Dr Dominik presented his work at the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy...

2008-04-01 14:25:00

An international team of astronomers has found 10 new "extra solar" planets, planets that orbit stars other than our sun. The team used a system of robotic cameras that yield a great deal of information about these other worlds, some of which are quite exotic. The system is expected to revolutionize scientific understanding of how planets form.Two participating astronomers from the U.S. are Rachel Street and Tim Lister. Street is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Santa...

2008-03-26 07:01:18

MIT scientists are designing a satellite-based observatory that they say could for the first time provide a sensitive survey of the entire sky to search for planets outside the solar system that appear to cross in front of bright stars. The system could rapidly discover hundreds of planets similar to the Earth. Google, the Internet search powerhouse that in recent years has expanded to include mapping of the stars as well as the surfaces of the moon and Mars and which has an ongoing...

2008-03-13 15:35:00

Researchers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered large amounts of simple organic gases and water vapor in a possible planet-forming region around an infant star, along with evidence that these molecules were created there. They've also found water in the same zone around two other young stars. By pushing the telescope's capabilities to a new level, astronomers now have a better view of the earliest stages of planetary formation, which may help shed light on the origins of our...

2008-03-12 16:10:00

Study provides clues about the formation of Earth-like planetsIn a find that sheds light on how Earth-like planets may form, astronomers this week reported finding the first evidence of small, sandy particles orbiting a newborn solar system at about the same distance as the Earth orbits the sun. The report will be published online this week by the journal Nature."Precisely how and when planets form is an open question," said study co-author Christopher Johns-Krull, assistant professor of...

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
  • An evil spirit; a devil.
  • A nightmare.
  • In astrology, the twelfth house of a scheme or figure of the heavens: so called from its signifying dreadful things, such as secret enemies, great losses, imprisonment, etc.
'Cacodemon' comes from a Greek term meaning 'evil genius.'