To date, the Kepler space telescope has found more than 1,200 likely planets orbiting stars beyond the sun quite a haul for a satellite that’s been flying for just over two years. The true prize Kepler is hunting for, of course, is not just any planet, but one that’s a twin of Earth about the size of our world, orbiting in a zone where the temperature range is like ours
It’s taken six years and six gravity assists from three different planets to get there, but at a little after 9 P.M. Eastern time on Thursday night, NASA’s Messenger spacecraft finally settled into orbit around the small, scorched planet Mercury.
Scientists have discovered the first confirmed Earthlike planet outside our solar system, they announced Wednesday. “This is the first confirmed rocky planet in another system,” astronomer Artie Hatzes told CNN, contrasting the solid planet with gaseous ones like Jupiter and Saturn
For one of the farthest, coldest places in the solar system, Pluto sure stirs a lot of hot emotions right here on Earth. It was three years ago Monday that the International Astronomical Union demoted Pluto from a planet to a dwarf planet, a decision that made jaws drop around the world. An outcry followed, textbooks had to be rewritten, long-held beliefs were shattered, and many people felt our cosmic neighborhood just didn’t seem the same with eight — instead of nine –planets in the solar system
Flashback to 1984: As a child, I am glued to my family’s black-and-white television set for our daily dose of evening entertainment and news on India’s national broadcaster. But this is no ordinary newscast: Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is speaking via videolink with astronaut Rakesh Sharma, who is aboard a space station
Dare to fall into a black hole and you would get vaporized in what is probably the most violent place in the universe. But the journey would yield some amazing sights, though you might need three eyes for the best view of what’s going on, new research suggests.
Beneath an Antarctic glacier in a cold, airless pool that never sees the sun seems like an unusual place to search for life. But under the Taylor Glacier on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, near a place called Blood Falls, scientists have discovered a time capsule of bacterial activity. At chilling temperatures, with no oxygen or sunlight, these newly found microbes have survived for the past 1.5 million years using an “iron-breathing” technique, which may show how life could exist on other planets
Think you could stare at a single spot without blinking for 3½ years? Then be glad you’re not NASA’s Kepler telescope, which is set to blast into space from Cape Canaveral, Fla., this Friday night