Deep Space

  • Star Bright: Part II
    In Part I of this article, the differences between typical stars, brown dwarfs and sub-brown dwarfs were discussed. Stars have a mass of 75 Jupiters or greater, brown dwarfs have a mass between 13 and 75 Jupiters, and sub-brown dwarfs are less than 13 Jupiter
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  • Star Bright: Part I
    Starlight aside, one way to distinguish between stars and planets is to have them weigh in. Stars need a hefty amount of mass to fuse hydrogen, while planets are mere dust motes in comparison. But over past few years, astronomers found planetary-mass objects
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  • Hotter Stars, Habitable Planets?
    Our solar system offers the best chances for life to evolve on its inner planets, but astronomers also wonder if a hotter star than ours might still sustain liquid water--and potential biology--for a more distant orbiting planet. If such a solar system can be triangulated
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  • Tiny Planet SIM
    The challenges of observing a tiny planet against the vast star background and the brightness of a parent sun has not discouraged planet finders. In the coming years, six new space-borne missions are slated for a closer look at the problem.
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  • Planets Need Heavy-Metal
    Astronomers have previously estimated that around five percent of stars may have planets, but a survey by Berkeley planet finders has refined this classification. If a star is rich in metals, particularly iron and other heavy metals, then it stands a remarkable one-in-five chance of
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  • Stellar Countdown Yields Skymap
    In March, three Berkeley scientists set out to double-check the most promising signals found so far from the world's largest distributed computing project, SETI@Home. Following up on what is an equivalent of a million years of computation (or CPU units), their skymap of interesting
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  • Inevitability Beyond Billions
    A sky survey by Anglo-Australian astronomers has put forward a new calculation for the number of stars in the visible universe. Their estimate is larger than the number of sand grains on Earth.
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  • Interview with Neville Woolf: Part II
    This is the second of a two-part interview with Neville Woolf, a Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. Woolf is the principal investigator of one of the lead teams recently awarded a five-year grant by the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) to conduct astrobiology-related
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  • Interview with Neville Woolf
    This is the first of a two-part interview with Neville Woolf, a Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. Woolf is the principal investigator of one of the lead teams recently awarded a five-year grant by the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) to conduct astrobiology-related
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  • Pulling Apart Galactic Taffy
    Using the Hubble and Hawaiian Keck Telescopes in tandem, astronomers have discovered a new class of star clusters. The star-rich regions have been called orphans, because they appear to be ripped by gravity from their parent galaxies.
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  • Cold Cosmic Grains
    The remnants of a giant supernova explosion in our own galaxy may have revealed the origin of how planets and dust first congealed. The supernova in Cassiopeia A is about 11,000 light-years from Earth.
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  • Amanda’s Halo: Seeing Through the Earth
    Astronomers unveiled their first nearly-completed sky map using a novel Antarctic telescope not to look up, but to look down and through the Earth's core. Working on a forty-year dream to detect some of the most violent events from the galactic past.
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  • Ancient Planet Discovered
    Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have identified the oldest and most distant known planet orbiting two burned-out stars. Its sky location in the constellation Scorpius places the planet as the M4 globular cluster. The discovered world is also the only planet found to orbit
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  • Rock, Scissors, Paper and Water
    A recent European conference discussed what a new class of planetary search candidates called 'waterworlds' might require: foremost after water itself, for life to originate elsewhere on a distant world depends on a rocky core and organic pulp.
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  • Similar Solar System at 90 Light Years
    Astronomers have found the first sun-like star with a giant gas planet in an orbit similar to Jupiter's. At a distance of 90 light-years, the similar solar system to ours means that this gas giant could attract most of the dangerous impact debris.
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