60 billion alien planets in our galaxy could support life: Study

New findings show that planets orbiting red dwarf stars are more likely to be habitable than previously believed.

Only about a dozen potentially habitable exoplanets have been detected so far but, scientists say the universe should be teeming with alien worlds that could support life. The Milky Way alone may host 60 billion such planets around faint red dwarf stars, a new estimate suggests. (Video)

 

 

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Breathtaking photos of the night sky seen with the naked eye

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Photographer Alex Cherney has dedicated his life’s work to capturing the night sky.

A star-gazer with just an ordinary digital camera has come a little bit closer to the final frontier.   – Alex Cherney spent 18 months photographing the night sky and turned thousands of snaps into incredible time-lapse video of the cosmos. (Pics)

 

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New Class of Planets Discovered that Have No Stars

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Artist’s conception illustrates a Jupiter-like planet alone in the dark of space, floating freely without a parent star.

David Bennett, University of Notre Dame astronomer, is co-author of a new paper describing the discovery of a new class of planets.  The new class of planets are dark, isolated Jupiter-mass bodies floating alone in space, far from any host star. The team of astronomers involved in the discovery believe that the planets were most likely ejected from developing planetary systems.

 

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Bright Ribbon Of Hydrogen Found At Edge Of Solar System

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A bright ribbon of hydrogen atoms marks the edge of the solar system

A bright ribbon of hydrogen atoms marks the edge of the solar system, where the Sun’s wind meets emissions from the rest of the galaxy, researchers reported.   They used telescopes aboard the orbiting Interstellar Boundary Explorer spacecraft or IBEX to look toward the heliopause, which is the boundary where solar wind meets galactic wind at the edge of the solar system beyond Pluto.

 

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New Images From The Repaired Hubble Space Telescope

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A small region inside the globular cluster Omega Centauri, which has nearly 10 million stars

Astronomers unveiled new pictures and observations from the Hubble Space Telescope. With the exception of a picture last month of the bruise on Jupiter caused by a comet, they were the first data obtained with the telescope since a crew spent 13 days in orbit last May replacing, refurbishing and rebuilding its vital components.  (Pics)

 

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Galaxy Zoo Hunters Help Discover Rare ‘Green Peas’ Galaxies

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The Green Peas stuck out because of their small size and green color compared to the more common galaxies

A team of astronomers has discovered a group of rare galaxies called the “Green Peas” with the help of citizen scientists working through an online project called Galaxy Zoo. The finding could lend unique insights into how galaxies form stars in the early universe.

 

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Physicists Search For Dark Matter

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95%. That is the percentage of the known Universe that is missing. As in it is not there. Or at least if it is there, we can’t see it. We call this unseen stuff “dark matter”. That has been well known for sometime. What is trickier in answering is why? Why is it that 95% of the universe is made up of this so-named “dark matter?” An even trickier question is where? As in where is this dark matter? It is those two questions that have plagued physicists for decades. Dark matter, by its own definition cannot be seen, hence its name. So how do we “see” it, how do we know “where” to look?

 

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Mystery Of The Milky Way’s Particle Accelerators Solved

Mystery Of The Milky Way’s Particle Accelerators Solved

Image of part of a stellar remnant whose explosion was recorded in 185 A.D.  

Thanks to a unique “ballistic study” that combines data from ESO’s Very Large Telescope and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have now solved a long-standing mystery of the Milky Way’s particle accelerators. They show in a paper published today on Science Express that cosmic rays from our galaxy are very efficiently accelerated in the remnants of exploded stars.

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Does A Twin Earth Exist?

Does A Twin Earth Exist?

Artist’s conception shows a hypothetical twin Earth orbiting a Sun-like star.

Does a twin Earth exist somewhere in our galaxy? Astronomers are getting closer and closer to finding an Earth-sized planet in an Earth-like orbit. NASA’s Kepler spacecraft just launched to find such worlds. Once the search succeeds, the next questions driving research will be: Is that planet habitable? Does it have an Earth-like atmosphere? Answering those questions will not be easy.

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