Latest Terrestrial planets Stories

2010-12-01 12:50:00

The atmosphere around a super-Earth exoplanet has been analyzed for the first time by an international team of astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope. The planet, which is known as GJ 1214b, was studied as it passed in front of its parent star and some of the starlight passed through the planet's atmosphere. We now know that the atmosphere is either mostly water in the form of steam or is dominated by thick clouds or hazes. The results will appear in the 2 December 2010 issue of the...

2010-11-30 09:43:22

First such levels measured outside polar regions In Hebrew, the Dead Sea is called Yam ha-Melah, the "sea of salt." Now measurements show that the sea's salt has profound effects on the chemistry of the air above its surface. The atmosphere over the Dead Sea, researchers have found, is laden with oxidized mercury. Some of the highest levels of oxidized mercury ever observed outside the polar regions exist there. The results appear in a paper published on-line November 28th in the journal...

2010-11-30 08:40:00

A mysterious high-altitude layer of sulphur dioxide discovered by ESA's Venus Express has been explained. As well as telling us more about Venus, it could be a warning against injecting our atmosphere with sulphur droplets to mitigate climate change. Venus is blanketed in sulphuric acid clouds that block our view of the surface. The clouds form at altitudes of 50"“70 km when sulphur dioxide from volcanoes combines with water vapor to make sulphuric acid droplets. Any remaining...

2010-11-22 06:39:38

The first study to ever explore biological activity in the deepest layer of ocean crust has found bacteria with a remarkable range of capabilities, including eating hydrocarbons and natural gas, and "fixing" or storing carbon. The research, published in the journal PLoS One, showed that a significant number and amount of bacterial forms were present, even in temperatures near the boiling point of water. "This is a new ecosystem that almost no one has ever explored," said Martin Fisk, a...

2010-11-02 13:37:53

Earth is invitingly blue. Mars is angry red. Venus is brilliant white. Astronomers have learned that a planet's "true colors" can reveal important details. For example, Mars is red because its soil contains rusty red stuff called iron oxide. And the famous tint of our planet, the "blue marble"? It's because the atmosphere scatters blue light rays more strongly than red ones. Therefore the atmosphere looks blue from above and below. Planets around other stars probably exhibit a rainbow of...

2010-10-21 13:25:00

Nearly a year after announcing the discovery of water molecules on the moon, scientists Thursday revealed new data uncovered by NASA's Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO. The missions found evidence that the lunar soil within shadowy craters is rich in useful materials, and the moon is chemically active and has a water cycle. Scientists also confirmed the water was in the form of mostly pure ice crystals in some places. The...

2010-10-08 08:40:00

To mark an unprecedented flurry of exploration which is about to begin, NASA announced Thursday that the coming year will be "The Year of the Solar System" (YSS). "During YSS, we'll see triple the [usual] number of launches, flybys and orbital insertions," says Jim Green, Director of Planetary Science at NASA headquarters. "There hasn't been anything quite like it in the history of the Space Age. Naturally, it's a Martian year. "These events will unfold over the next 23 months, the length of...

2010-10-07 09:40:00

The polar atmosphere of Venus is thinner than expected. How do we know? Because ESA's Venus Express has actually been there. Instead of looking from orbit, Venus Express has flown through the upper reaches of the planet's poisonous atmosphere. Venus Express went diving into the alien atmosphere during a series of low passes in July"“August 2008, October 2009, and February and April 2010. The aim was to measure the density of the upper polar atmosphere, an experiment that had never been...

2010-09-21 11:43:19

The heat in the atmosphere of Venus, induced from a strong greenhouse warming, might actually have a cooling effect on the planet's interior. This counter-intuitive theory is based on calculations from a new model presented at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) in Rome on Tuesday September 21st. "For some decades we've known that the large amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere of Venus cause the extreme heat we observe presently", explains Lena Noack from the German...

2010-08-24 15:05:00

James Cameron, director of "Avatar," the most successful film ever released, is featured in a series of new NASA public service announcements that describe the many contributions of the agency's Earth science program to environmental awareness and exploration of our home planet. "When NASA ventures into space, it remembers to keep a steady eye on home," Cameron said. "Its fleet of Earth-orbiting satellites constantly reveals our whole planet: its remotest places, its mysteries and the...

Latest Terrestrial planets Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Terrestrial Planet -- A terrestrial planet is a planet that is mostly composed of silicate rocks and may or may not have a relatively thin atmosphere. The term is derived from the Greek word for Earth, so an alternate definition would be those planets that are more Earth-like than not. Terrestrial planets are very different from gas giants, which may or may not have solid surfaces and are composed mostly of hydrogen and helium in various physical states. Only one terrestrial planet,...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

The Planet Venus is the second planet from the sun. It is often called the evening star or morning star and is brighter than any object in the sky except the sun and the moon. Because its orbit lies between the sun and the orbit of the earth, Venus passes through phases like those of the moon, varying from a large bright crescent when the planet is near inferior conjunction (nearest the earth) to a smaller silvery disk when it is at superior conjunction (farthest from the earth). Since...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

The Planet Mercury -- in astronomy, nearest planet to the sun, at a mean distance of 36 million mi (58 million km); its period of revolution is 88 days. Mercury passes through phases similar to those of the moon as it completes each revolution about the sun, although the visible disk varies in size with respect to its distance from the earth. Because its greatest elongation is 28, it is seen only for a short time after sunset or before sunrise. Since observation of Mercury is...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

The Planet Mars -- in astronomy, 4th planet from the sun, with an orbit next in order beyond that of the earth. Physical Characteristics Mars has a striking red appearance, and in its most favorable position for viewing, when it is opposite the sun, it is twice as bright as Sirius, the brightest star. Mars has a diameter of 4,200 mi (6,800 km), just over half the diameter of the earth, and its mass is only 11% of the earth's mass. The planet has a very thin atmosphere consisting...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Earth -- in geology and astronomy, fifth largest planet of the solar system and the only planet definitely known to support life. Gravitational forces have molded the earth, like all celestial bodies, into a spherical shape. However, the earth is not an exact sphere, being slightly flattened at the poles and bulging at the equator. The equatorial diameter is c.7,926 mi (12,760 km) and the polar diameter 7,900 mi (12,720 km); the circumference at the equator is c.24,830 mi (40,000 km)....

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Word of the Day
  • A murmuring sound; a rushing or whistling sound, like that of the wind; a deep sigh.
  • A gentle breeze; a waft; a breath.
  • Any rumor that engages general attention.
  • A cant or whining mode of speaking, especially in preaching or praying; the chant or recitative characteristic of the old Presbyterians in Scotland.
  • To make a rushing, whistling, or sighing sound; emit a hollow murmur; murmur or sigh like the wind.
  • To breathe in or as in sleep.
  • To utter in a whining or monotonous tone.
According to the OED, from the 16th century, this word is 'almost exclusively Scots and northern dialect until adopted in general literary use in the 19th.'