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Possible Habitable Planet Discovered July 23, 2015

Posted by Al Philipson in Science and Science Fiction news, Uncategorized.
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kepler186f

The artist’s concept depicts Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone—a range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the planet’s surface. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that Earth-size planets exist in the habitable zones of other stars and signals a significant step closer to finding a world similar to Earth.

The size of Kepler-186f is known to be less than ten percent larger than Earth, but its mass, composition and density are not known. Previous research suggests that a planet the size of Kepler-186f is likely to be rocky.

Kepler-186f orbits its star once every 130 days and receives one-third the energy that Earth does from the sun, placing it near the outer edge of the habitable zone. If you could stand on the surface of Kepler-186f, the brightness of its star at high noon would appear as bright as our sun is about an hour before sunset on Earth.

Image credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

Full story on Kepler-186F

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New Planet beyond Pluto July 23, 2015

Posted by Al Philipson in Science and Science Fiction news.
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NewPlanetTransPlutoNew Planet Discovered Beyond Pluto

This artist’s concept shows the planet cataloged as 2003UB313 at the lonely outer fringes of our solar system. Our Sun can be seen in the distance. The new planet, which is yet to be formally named, is at least as big as Pluto and about three times farther away from the Sun than Pluto.

Courtesy of NASA. Full story.

Dwarf planet discovered at solar system’s edge June 27, 2014

Posted by Al Philipson in Science and Science Fiction news.
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In this combined image, the colored dots show the movement of 2012 VP113. Each image was taken two hours apart.

In this combined image, the colored dots show the movement of 2012 VP113. Each image was taken two hours apart.

It is named 2012 VP113 and is at 83 AU.

But even farther out is another dwarf planet Eris. “Eris is bigger than Pluto, and has a satellite called Dysnomia.

A new exciting find from the far reaches of our solar system: Astronomers have discovered a dwarf planet that’s even farther away than Pluto — so far, in fact, that its orbit reaches into a new edge of the solar system.

The dwarf planet’s current name is 2012 VP113, and it is located in a “wasteland or badland of the solar system,” said astronomer Chad Trujillo, head of adaptive optics at Gemini Observatory in Hawaii and co-discoverer of this object. His study was published Wednesday in the journal Nature. (more…)