Towards Other Earths: 32 New Exoplanets Found


One of the 32 new exoplanets recently discovered using the HARPS spectrograph is surrounding the star Gliese 667 C, which belongs to a triple system. The 6 Earth-mass exoplanet circulates around its low-mass host star at a distance equal to only 1/20th of the Earth-Sun distance. The host star is a companion to two other low-mass stars, which are seen here in the distance.

Today, at an international ESO/CAUP exoplanet conference in Porto, the team who built the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher, better known as HARPS, the spectrograph for ESO’s 3.6-metre telescope, reports on the incredible discovery of some 32 new exoplanets, cementing HARPS’s position as the world’s foremost exoplanet hunter. This result also increases the number of known low-mass planets by an impressive 30%. Over the past five years HARPS has spotted more than 75 of the roughly 400 or so exoplanets now known.

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Swift Makes Best-ever Ultraviolet Portrait Of Andromeda Galaxy


This mosaic of M31 merges 330 individual images taken by the Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope aboard NASA’s Swift spacecraft.

In a break from its usual task of searching for distant cosmic explosions, NASA’s Swift satellite has acquired the highest-resolution view of a neighboring spiral galaxy ever attained in the ultraviolet. The galaxy, known as M31 in the constellation Andromeda, is the largest and closest spiral galaxy to our own.

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Oddball Stars Explained: New Observations Solve Longstanding Mystery Of Tipped Stars


stars now explained. New observations on the double star system.

A pair of unusual stars known as DI Herculis has confounded astronomers for three decades, but new observations by MIT researchers and their colleagues have provided data that they say solve the mystery once and for all.

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Celestial Rosetta Stone: White Dwarf Star, Circling Companion Star, Could Explode In A Few Million Years


Illustration of the white dwarf and its companion HD49798. If it was possible to look at the system up-close, it would look something like this.

ESA’s XMM-Newton orbiting X-ray telescope has uncovered a celestial Rosetta stone: the first close-up of a white dwarf star, circling a companion star, that could explode into a particular kind of supernova in a few million years. These supernovae are used as beacons to measure cosmic distances and ultimately understand the expansion of our Universe.

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Will Kepler Find Habitable Moons?


Artist’s impression of a hypothetical exomoon in orbit around a Saturn-like planet in another planetary system.

Since the launch of the NASA Kepler Mission earlier this year, astronomers have been keenly awaiting the first detection of an Earth-like planet around another star. Now, in an echo of science fiction movies a team of scientists led by Dr David Kipping of University College London thinks that they may even find habitable ‘exomoons,’ too.

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