Telescope Reveals Record-Breaking Exoplanet Discovery. This illustration shows the possible surface of TRAPPIST-1f, one of the newly discovered planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. Scientists using the Spitzer Space Telescope and ground-based telescopes have discovered that there are seven Earth-size planets in the system. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system.
All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone. Credits: NASA The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultra-cool dwarf, has seven Earth-size planets orbiting it. -end- Probing the Mysteries of Europa, Jupiter's Cracked and Crinkled Moon. Jupiter's moon Europa is believed to possess a large salty ocean beneath its icy exterior, and that ocean, scientists say, has the potential to harbor life.
Indeed, a mission recently suggested by NASA would visit the icy moon's surface to search for compounds that might be indicative of life. But where is the best place to look? New research by Caltech graduate student Patrick Fischer; Mike Brown, the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor and Professor of Planetary Astronomy; and Kevin Hand, an astrobiologist and planetary scientist at JPL, suggests that it might be within the scarred, jumbled areas that make up Europa's so-called "chaos terrain. " A paper about the work has been accepted to The Astronomical Journal. "We have known for a long time that Europa's fresh icy surface, which is covered with cracks and ridges and transform faults, is the external signature of a vast internal salty ocean," Brown says.
The OSIRIS instrument measures spectra in infrared wavelengths. "No Jupiter, No Advanced Life? " ('2012 Most Popular') Asteroids may have delivered water and organic compounds to the early Earth. According to the theory of punctuated equilibrium, occasional asteroid impacts might accelerate the rate of biological evolution by disrupting a planet's environment to the point where species must try new adaptation strategies. The astronomers based their conclusion on an analysis of theoretical models and archival observations, including infrared data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. "Our study shows that only a tiny fraction of planetary systems observed to date seem to have giant planets in the right location to produce an asteroid belt of the appropriate size, offering the potential for life on a nearby rocky planet," said Martin, the study's lead author.
"Our study suggests that our solar system may be rather special. " Martin and Livio suggest that the location of an asteroid belt relative to a Jupiter-like planet is not an accident. The Daily Galaxy via. "Potential for Life in the Universe --Is It Reaching its Peak?" (Weekend Feature) There are 200 billion stars in the Milky Way and 90% are small enough and old enough to have planets in orbit. And only 10% of these stars were formed with enough heavy elements to have and Earths-- will orbit within their star's habitable zone. Differing from Sasselov, an important study by an international team of astronomers has established that the rate of formation of new stars in the Universe is now only 1/30th of its peak and that this decline is only set to continue. The accepted model for the evolution of the Universe predicts that stars began to form about 13.4 billion years ago, or around three hundred million years after the Big Bang.
Many of these first stars are thought to have been monsters by today's standards, and were probably hundreds of times more massive than our Sun. Such beasts aged very quickly, exhausted their fuel, and exploded as supernovae within a million years or so. Lower mass stars in contrast have much longer lives and last for billions of years. Alien Moons --Emerging as Prime Suspects in the Kepler Mission's Search for Life Beyond Our Solar System. In a series of recent papers, Heller and his colleague tackled some of the big-picture problems to habitability posed Rory Barnes from the University of Washington and the NASA Astrobiology Institute by the relationship between exomoons and their host planets.
Heller and Barnes have proposed a circumplanetary "habitable edge," similar to the well-established circumstellar "habitable zone. " This zone is the temperature band around a star within which water neither boils off or freezes away on a planet's surface – not too hot, not too cold, thus earning it the nickname "the Goldilocks zone. " The discovery of alien moons will open up an exciting new frontier in the continuing hunt for habitable worlds outside the Solar System. With the confirmation of exomoons likely right around the corner, researchers have begun addressing the unique and un-Earthly factors that might affect their habitability. This "planetshine" can add a not-insubstantial amount of energy to an exomoon's overall intake. Kepler-62. Nomenclature and history Prior to Kepler observation, Kepler-62 had the 2MASS catalogue number 2MASS J18525105+4520595.
In the Kepler Input Catalog it has the designation of KIC 9002278, and when it was found to have transiting planet candidates it was given the Kepler object of interest number of KOI-701. The star's planets were discovered by NASA's Kepler Mission, a mission tasked with discovering planets in transit around their stars. The transit method that Kepler uses involves detecting dips in brightness in stars.
These dips in brightness can be interpreted as planets whose orbits move in front of their stars from the perspective of Earth. The designations b, c, d, e, and f derive from the order of discovery. Stellar characteristics Kepler-62 is a K-type star that is approximately 69% the mass of and 64% the radius of the Sun. The star's apparent magnitude, or how bright it appears from Earth's perspective, is 13.75. Planetary system Kepler-62 Comparisons Notes Cassini Captures Spectacular View Of Sunlight Glinting Off Of Titan's Seas.
The Cassini Spacecraft has captured an image of the hydrocarbon seas of Titan with sunlight glinting off them. Cassini has previously taken images of the Titan's seas through breaks in the clouds. University of Arizona. Kraken Mare, the largest sea on Titan is at the upper right. It has also produced images where a beam of sunlight was picked up reflecting off a lake, in this case Kivu Lacus.
University of Arizona. However, the latest image is the first to combine the two. The image at the top of the page represents the first time the two have been captured together. The image was possible because with Titan's well into its northern summer the sun has reached 40 above the horizon at the Mare's southern latitudes, allowing a stronger reflection than when it was only just reaching the lake.
To the right of the Kraken Mare is a network of channels that connect it to Ligeia Sea. Scientists shocked to find cell-like structures within Martian meteorite. Electron microscope image of a mysterious oval structure in the Nakhla Mars meteorite. Scientists have cracked open an ancient meteorite from Mars and say they have found strong evidence that suggests Mars may have had life in its distant past. The rock that crashed onto Earth over a century ago, known as the Nakhla meteorite, has been identified by previous studies as having come from the Red Planet and has been dated at 1.3 billion years old.
The research team discovered that deeply embedded within the rock are what looks like egg-shaped, ’cell-like’ structures that are believed to have once held water. “In many ways it resembled a fossilized biological cell from Earth but it was intriguing because it was undoubtedly from Mars,” explained study co-author Ian Lyon, planetary researcher at the University of Manchester in a press statement. This theory suggests that high-velocity impacts allowed the mixing and heating of surface permafrost with underground material on ancient Mars.
Around. Atmosphere. Earth. Circumbinary planet. A circumbinary planet is a planet that orbits two stars instead of one. Because of the short orbits of some binary stars, the only way for planets to form is by forming outside the orbit of the two stars. As of 5 December 2013, there are seventeen confirmed systems of circumbinary planets. Observations and discoveries Confirmed planets The first confirmed circumbinary extrasolar planet was found orbiting the system PSR B1620-26, which contains a millisecond pulsar and a white dwarf and is located in the globular cluster M4. Announced in 2008, the eclipsing binary system HW Virginis, comprising a subdwarf B star and a red dwarf, was announced to also host a planetary system.
On 15 September 2011, astronomers announced the first partial-eclipse-based discovery of a circumbinary planet. The planet, called Kepler-16b, is about 200 light years from Earth, in the constellation Cygnus, and is believed to be a frozen world of rock and gas, about the mass of Saturn.