NASA has announced
that the latest Kepler data dump
contains 1,091 extrasolar planet
candidates, with 196 Earth-sized planets among them. The data shows "a clear trend toward smaller planets at longer orbital periods is evident with each new catalog release. This suggests that Earth-size planets in the habitable zone are forthcoming if, indeed, such planets are abundant." Total Kepler candidates as of February 27, 2012: 2,321
. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor
on Mar 1, 2012 -
One of my favorite blogs
happens to be local to me. Eric Berger, the Houston Chronicle's "SciGuy" usually reports on the weather
. But he also posts entertaining and serious stuff as well. [more inside]
posted by PapaLobo
on Nov 22, 2011 -
Carl Sagan famously said that we are all made of star stuff
. In his vision the basic building blocks of life were jettisoned into interstellar space by the massive explosions of stars going supernova. Now scientists from Hong Kong University have claimed
that the results of their latest study
(paywall), published in Nature, indicate that stars can create complex organic compounds on the very short timescale of weeks. [more inside]
posted by AElfwine Evenstar
on Oct 27, 2011 -
A team of astronomers monitoring data from the Kepler,
a craft designed to identify potenially habitable stars, have just announced today that they have located one orbiting a double star system
(NYT Link). Early data suggests it's a gaseous planet, but it is also within the range considered "sustainable for life". Still, if there's no life there, Kepler's got over a thousand
other exoplanets to check out.
Officially, the newly-discovered planet is named "Kepler 16b," but astronomers have already nicknamed it "Tatooine"
posted by EmpressCallipygos
on Sep 15, 2011 -
, first observed by Galileo, normally follow an 11-year cycle. We are into a few years into (recorded) cycle number 24 but according to NASA it's looking rather underpowered
. Nobody is certain exactly what the consequences will be, but one distinct possibility is a cold period
; a previous low in solar activity, the Maunder minimum
, is correlated with a brief Little Ice Age
. Nobody really knows how this unusual solar weather pattern might interact with human-caused climate change. Previously
, albeit somewhat controversially.
posted by anigbrowl
on Jun 14, 2011 -
have just published a paper entitled "Gliese 581d is the 1st discovered terrestrial-mass exoplanet in the habitable zone", claiming that their computer model suggests the exoplanet
"will have a stable atmosphere and surface liquid water for a wide range of plausible cases."
We've discovered a lot
of exoplanets. And there are a lot
to help you keep track. Previously.
posted by Ipsifendus
on May 26, 2011 -
El Tiede: The Mountain.
A timelapse of shots taken from the El Tiede mountain, known for being an excellent site for astrological observations. Includes a timelapse of the Milky Way, as seen through a sandstorm coming off from the Sahara Desert. (SLYT)
posted by flibbertigibbet
on Apr 16, 2011 -
In 2009, to mark the 400th anniversary of Galileo first turning a telescope skywards, Radio New Zealand National, in partnership with the Royal Society of New Zealand, released this kickin' series of five lectures spanning the evolution of cosmology, extra-solar planets, near-earth objects, the nascent field of neutrino astronomy and prospects for the future as the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope comes online early in the next decade. It's a great listen and best of all, it's free to download as MP3 or Ogg Vorbis!
posted by treyka
on Apr 14, 2011 -