Meteorites,Comets and Asteroids

  • Gem Sorting for the Next Earth
    Which star is most like our own Sun? This intriguing question offers a chance to test hypotheses about what places might make for a good Earth-like, habitable planet. The best found so far may well be the 37th most westerly star in the constellation, Gemini,
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  • Twin Planets Survive Solar Blow-Out
    Two planets in the constellation Aquarius have been discovered and appear to have survived a catastrophic event in the life of a sun--the inevitable expansion to a red giant. The discovery brings the tally of extrasolar planets found to 118.
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  • Planet First Magnetic Roaster
    Among the nearly 120 planets discovered so far, the first one with a magnetic field has some surprising behavior. It's enormous size and close orbit may intertwine its magnetic field with a parent star, such that the planet is heating the sun.
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  • Museum of the Galaxies
    Comets that formed beyond Pluto and orbit the sun give off a spectacular show, but none quite so close or bright as the one witnessed by the Stardust mission team. Their comet dust sampler revealed a strange, pockmarked surface rich in depressions and steep walls.
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  • Stardust’s Success
    The Stardust spacecraft successfully flew by the comet Wild 2 on Friday, gathering dust and taking pictures. The first image surprised scientists - the comet's nucleus is a round snowball pocketed with deep caverns, with at least five jets spewing material out into space.
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  • Surviving Wild Comet Impacts
    The Stardust team was exuberant as the signal from its comet fly-through mission continued before and after the main event. The spacecraft captured the closest view of comet, as the lightweight particle capture panel hurled through space at bullet-speeds and passed within 150 miles of
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  • New Year Invites Wild Bash
    When it completes its mission, the Stardust spacecraft will have travelled three billion miles to return an extraterrestrial sample to the Utah desert. As its primary mission to capture comet dust nears on January 2nd, the anticipation of thousands of tiny space rocks from
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  • Extraterrestrial Capture
    In the next few days, a bullet-speed spacecraft called Stardust will pass through the wispy tail of a comet, capture about an ounce of its delicate particles, and then begin its return voyage back to Earth.
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  • Catching Comet Dust
    The Stardust spacecraft prepares to fly into the stormy coma of the comet Wild 2 on Friday, ending a five-year wait. The spacecraft will "kiss the comet's dust," collecting enough of the tiny grains to bring back to Earth for analysis.
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  • Guts of Comet Encounter
    If University of Washington's Don Brownlee has a New Year's resolution, it is likely to have something to do with meeting a comet.
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  • Vega’s Likeness for New Planets
    Astronomers at the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Councils UK Astronomy Technology Centre (ATC) at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh have produced compelling new evidence that Vega, one of the brightest stars in the sky, has a planetary system around it which is more like our
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  • Repeated Blows: The Great Dying
    Nearly a quarter-billion years ago, life on Earth almost disappeared. Called the Great Dying, the precise cause of why 70-90% of all terrestrial species might become extinct, challenges geologists, paleontologists and climatologists.
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  • Sprinkling Stardust
    On Jan. 2, 2004, the spacecraft called Stardust will fly within 75 miles of a cometary main body (called Wild-2), close enough to trap small particles from the coma, the gas-and-dust envelope surrounding the comet's nucleus. The spacecraft already has sighted its cometary target.
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  • Leonid Meteors, 2003
    This year's encounter between the Earth's orbit and the dust trail of a comet will promise fewer mid-November meteors to view.
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  • Lunacy: Finding New Moons?
    The technology required to find a planet outside our solar system boggles the imagination: the star itself is typically a billion times brighter than the planet, which gets lost in its host's glare. But with more than one hundred such planets now logged, can a
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