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2010-05-24 14:28:22

Astronomers are reporting today the discovery of a planetary system way out of tilt, where the orbits of two planets are at a steep angle to each other. This surprising finding will impact theories of how multi-planet systems evolve, and it shows that some violent events can happen to disrupt planets' orbits after a planetary system forms, say researchers. "The findings mean that future studies of exoplanetary systems will be more complicated. Astronomers can no longer assume all planets...

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2006-10-12 15:25:00

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has made the first measurements of the day and night temperatures of a planet outside our solar system. The infrared observatory revealed that the Jupiter-like gas giant planet circling very close to its sun is always as hot as fire on one side, and potentially as cold as ice on the other. "This planet has a giant hot spot in the hemisphere that faces the star," said Joe Harrington of the University of Central Florida, Orlando."The temperature difference between...

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2005-04-14 00:15:00

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Except for the fact that we call it home, for centuries astronomers didn't have any particular reason to believe that our solar system was anything special in the universe. But, beginning with the discovery 10 years ago of the first planet outside our solar system, evidence suggests that, as far as planetary systems go, the solar system might be special indeed. Instead of the nice circular orbits our nine planets enjoy, most of the more than 160 extrasolar planets detected...


Word of the Day
lunula
  • 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.
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