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2011-05-12 09:55:00

Scientists said on Wednesday the majority of the 500 planets detected around stars besides the Sun appear to spin the same way the star does. However, astronomers found that some of these extrasolar planets spin in the opposite direction of the stars they orbit. These backward-spinning planets usually are gassy giants called hot Jupiters. The scientists said these big planets huddle close to their stars, unlike Jupiter, which is about 483 million miles from the Sun. "That's really weird,...

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2010-10-19 13:45:00

Observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope reveal a distant planet with a warm spot in the wrong place. The gas-giant planet, named upsilon Andromedae b, orbits tightly around its star, with one face perpetually boiling under the star's heat. It belongs to a class of planets termed hot Jupiters, so called for their scorching temperatures and large, gaseous constitutions. One might think the hottest part of these planets would be directly under the sun-facing side, but previous...

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2009-05-04 15:35:00

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is about to use its last drop of the coolant that has chilled it for the past five-and-a-half years. On about May 12, give or take a week or so, the observatory is predicted to run out of the liquid helium that has run through its veins, keeping its infrared detectors at frosty operating temperatures of just a few degrees above the coldest temperature possible, called absolute zero. The spacecraft, which is now in orbit around the sun more than 100-million...

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2007-01-09 16:55:00

Earth's inhabitants are used to temperatures that vary, sometimes greatly, between day and night. New measurements for three planets outside our solar system indicate their temperatures remain fairly constant "“ and blazing hot "“ from day to night, even though it is likely one side of each planet always faces its sun and the other is in permanent darkness. The reason apparently is supersonic winds, perhaps as strong as 9,000 miles an hour, that constantly churn the planets'...

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2006-05-18 13:20:00

An international team of professional and amateur astronomers, using simple off-the-shelf equipment to trawl the skies for planets outside our solar system, has hauled in its first "catch." The astronomers discovered a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting a Sun-like star 600 light-years from Earth in the constellation Corona Borealis. The team, led by Peter McCullough of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., includes four amateur astronomers from North America and Europe. Using...

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2006-02-21 18:05:00

NASA -- A NASA-led team of astronomers have used NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to detect a strong flow of heat radiation from a toasty planet orbiting a nearby star. The findings allowed the team to "take the temperature" of the planet. "This is the closest extrasolar planet to Earth that has ever been detected directly, and it presents the strongest heat emission ever seen from an exoplanet," said Drake Deming of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. Deming is the lead...

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2005-03-23 00:10:00

JPL -- NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has for the first time captured the light from two known planets orbiting stars other than our Sun. The findings mark the beginning of a new age of planetary science, in which "extrasolar" planets can be directly measured and compared. "Spitzer has provided us with a powerful new tool for learning about the temperatures, atmospheres and orbits of planets hundreds of light-years from Earth," said Dr. Drake Deming of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center,...


Word of the Day
Cthulhu
  • A gigantic fictional humanoid alien god being described with a head resembling an octopus and dragon wings and claws, around whom an insane cult developed.
  • Pertaining to the mythos of Cthulhu and additional otherworldly beings created by H. P. Lovecraft or inspired by his writings and imitators.
This word was invented in 1926 by H.P. Lovecraft for his short story, 'The Call of Cthulhu.' 'Cthulhu' may be based on the word 'chthonic,' which in Greek mythology refers to the underworld.
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