Using the Kepler space telescope, NASA astronomers have found the first planet that they believe to be made of rock, roughly equivalent in size to Earth and potentially capable of supporting life.
The planet, Kepler-186f, orbits the star Kepler-186 some 490 light years away in the constellation Cygnus. It has a diameter of 8,700 miles, making it larger than Earth, and its orbit lies within the “Goldilocks zone” where temperatures could allow for liquid water to flow on its surface. Kepler-186f likely even boasts similar gravity. It’s the first such planet to ever be discovered outside of our solar system.
Using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the “habitable zone” — the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet.
On this day in 1655…
From Mars, with love ♥︎
Native History: Astronaut John B. Herrington, Chickasaw, Becomes First American Indian in Space
Liftoff on November 23, 2002, set in motion a lot more than space shuttle Endeavour for NASA astronaut John Herrington, Chickasaw. After retiring from NASA, he embarked on a bicycle ride called Rocket Trek across Turtle Island to get Native students engaged with science and math—and discovered two life passions.
An animation of the hexagonal storm present on Saturns’s North pole. The hexagon is 30,000 kilometers across and has constant winds of more than 300 kilometers per hour. Images acquired by the Cassini spacecraft on Dec.10, 2012.
WAIT WHAT IF EVEN THOUGH SATURN IS A GAS GIANT ITS ISODENSITY SURFACES HAVE SOCCER-BALL POLYHEDRAL SYMMETRY
I DON’T KNOW WHAT FORCES WOULD CAUSE THAT BUT WHAT IF
Jupiter from Voyager
A strange lonely planet found without a star
An international team of astronomers has discovered an exotic young planet that is not orbiting a star. This free-floating planet, dubbed PSO J318.5-22, is just 80 light-years away from Earth and has a mass only six times that of Jupiter. The planet formed a mere 12 million years ago, a newborn in planet lifetimes.
"We have never before seen an object free-floating in space that that looks like this. It has all the characteristics of young planets found around other stars, but it is drifting out there all alone," explained team leader Dr. Michael Liu of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. “I had often wondered if such solitary objects exist, and now we know they do.”
The discovery paper of PSO J318.5-22 is being published by Astrophysical Journal Letters and is available at http://arxiv.org/abs/1310.0457.
Image: Artist’s conception of PSO J318.5-22. Credit: MPIA/V. Ch. Quetz
Stars Bursting In The Night Sky
Australian photographer Lincoln Harris collection ‘Star trails’, surreal swirls in the sky, created from a multitude of long-exposure shots and the effect of the Earth’s rotation.