Deep Space

  • First Light from Faraway Planet
    An international team of astronomers reports today confirmation of the discovery of a giant planet, approximately five times the mass of Jupiter, that is gravitationally bound to a young brown dwarf. This topic has spawned a year long discussion on the nature of this object.
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  • Questioning Terrestrial Planets
    Looking for biosignatures that would be characteristic of intelligent life is not always about extrapolating the most intelligent things a species might be doing. For instance, would one look for pollutants in the atmosphere?
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  • When Did the Solar Nebula Form?
    The oxygen and magnesium content of some of the oldest objects in the universe are giving clues to the lifetime of the solar nebula, the mass of dust and gas that eventually led to the formation of our solar system.
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  • The Faint and the Bright
    Of the 500 scientifically interesting stars within 30 light-years, how many habitable zones will astronomers be able to image? If there's a planet in those habitable zones, how detectable will that planet be?
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  • Crunching the Numbers
    Maggie Turnbull, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution, has spent many years thinking about what kind of stars could harbor Earth-like planets. Her database of potentially habitable star systems could be used as a target list for NASA's forthcoming Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) mission.
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  • Explaining Eccentricities
    When astronomers discovered that the planets around Upsilon Andromedae had very strange orbits, they weren't sure what could have caused it. Researchers from Berkeley and Northwestern have developed a simulation that shows how an additional planet could have given the other planets the orbital kick.
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  • The Wolf: New Planet or Brown Dwarf Star?
    Located in the Lupus I (the Wolf) cloud, a region of star formation about 400 or 500 light-years away, a young T-Tauri star may be either a new planet or a failed star. Although the borderline between the two is still a matter of debate,
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  • Surfing the Wavelengths
    Maggie Turnbull, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution, has spent many years thinking about what kind of stars could harbor Earth-like planets. Her database of potentially habitable star systems could be used as a target list for NASA's upcoming Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) mission.
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  • Re-igniting a Phoenix Star
    Scientists have unveiled new research which shows how exploding stars may have helped to create the earth. The discovery was made during a unique research project examining how some dead stars re-ignite and come back to life.
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  • Earths Galore
    How many planets like the Earth are there among the 130 or so known planetary systems beyond our own? How many of these "Earths" could be habitable? Recent theoretical work indicates that as many as half of the known systems could be harbouring habitable "Earths"
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  • April Solar Eclipse
    Solar eclipses are grand cosmic events that no nature-watcher wants to miss -- and an opportunity to see one will occur for most of the southern United States on Friday afternoon, April 8th.
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  • Dying Stars, Melting Planets
    Dying stars may warm previously frozen worlds around them to the point where liquid water temperature exists long enough for life to form, according to a new analysis of the evolution of habitable zones around stars by an international team of astronomers.
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  • First Light from Extrasolar Planets
    Most of the 150 known extrasolar planets are discovered and studied through techniques such as finding the telltale wobble of a star tugged by an orbiting planet, or the blink of a star as a planet passes in front of it. Now for the first
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  • Bloated Star Births
    Unlike humans, stars are born with all the weight they will ever have. A human's birth weight varies by just a few pounds, but a star's weight ranges from less than a tenth to more than 100 times the mass of our Sun.
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  • Galactic Hide-and-Seek
    How do you hide something as big and bright as a galaxy? You smother it in cosmic dust. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope saw through such dust to uncover a hidden population of monstrously bright galaxies approximately 11 billion light-years away.
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