From EsoCast in 1080p, comes the announcement of a rash of new planet discoveries. Astronomers using ESO's leading exoplanet hunter HARPS have today announced more than fifty newly discovered planets around other stars. Among these are many rocky planets not much heavier than the Earth. One of them in particular orbits within the habitable zone around its star. Among the new planets just announced by scientists, sixteen are super-Earths - rocky planets up to ten times as massive as Earth. This is the largest number of such planets ever announced at one time. A planet in orbit causes its star to regularly move backwards and forwards as seen from Earth. This creates a tiny shift of the star's spectrum that can be measured with an extremely sensitive spectrograph such as HARPS. In their quest to find a rocky planet that could harbor life, astronomers are now pushing HARPS even further. They have selected ten well-studied nearby stars similar to our Sun. Earlier observations showed that these were ideal stars to examine for even less massive planets. After two years of work, the team has found five light super-Earths around three of the stars. These planets are very good candidates for future observations looking for evidence of life. One of the newly found planets, named HD 85512 b, orbits inside the habitable zone. This is the narrow area around a star where water can exist in liquid form. Astronomers estimate that liquid water could possibly be present on this planet if it is a rocky world that has more than 50% cloud cover. By looking carefully at the results from the first 8 years of HARPS observations, the team has found that around 40% of stars similar to the Sun harbor at least one planet lighter than Saturn. These new results lead astronomers to believe that they could soon find more super-Earths in the habitable zones of their stars with HARPS. These planets will be great targets for powerful future telescopes to try to study their atmospheres looking for evidence of life. Thanks to HARPS, the search for another Earth elsewhere in the galaxy is picking up pace!
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SETI Talks archive: http://seti.org/talks Science fiction portrays our Milky Way Galaxy as filled with habitable planets populated by advanced civilizations engaged in interstellar trade and conflict. Back in our real universe, Earth-like planets and alien life have proved elusive. Has science fiction led us astray? NASA has launched a space-borne telescope, Kepler, dedicated to discovering the first Earth-like worlds around other stars. The first results are startling and profound. How common are worlds that are suitable for life? What properties make a planet livable? Can we estimate the occurrence of life in the universe, especially intelligent life? New telescopic and biological observations are providing the first answers to these questions. And new techniques are emerging to provide those answers.
~credits video: http://youtube.com/ESOobservatory Astronomers using ESO instruments have discovered a remarkable extrasolar planetary system that has some striking similarities to our own Solar System. At least five planets are orbiting the Sun-like star HD 10180, and the regular pattern of their orbits is similar to that observed for our neighbouring planets. One of the new extrasolar worlds could be only 1.4 times the mass of the Earth, making it the least massive exoplanet ever found. This video podcast explains how these faraway planets were detected and exactly what we know about them. Astronomers using ESO's world-leading HARPS instrument have discovered a planetary system containing at least five planets, orbiting the Sun-like star HD 10180. The researchers also believe the system has two other planets, one of which would have the lowest mass ever found, making the system similar to our own Solar System in terms of the number of planets. Furthermore, the scientists find that the location of the planets follows a regular pattern, as also seen in our own Solar System The team of astronomers used the HARPS spectrograph, attached to ESO's 3.6-metre telescope at La Silla, Chile. HARPS is an instrument with unrivalled stability and great precision, and the world's most successful exoplanet hunter. The astronomers, led by Christophe Lovis from the Geneva Observatory, studied the Sun-like star HD 10180 over a period of six years! This star is located 127 light-years away in the southern constellation Hydrus ("the Male Water Snake"). Thanks to the 190 individual HARPS measurements, the astronomers detected the wobbles of the star caused by five or more planets. The five strongest signals correspond to planets with Neptune-like masses — between 13 and 25 Earth masses — which orbit the star in between 6 to 600 days. The astronomers have also strong reason to believe that two other planets are present. One would be a Saturn-like planet orbiting in 2200 days. The other, having a mass of only about 1.4 times that of the Earth would be the least massive exoplanet ever discovered. This suspected planet is very close to its host star and so it is likely to be very hot. One 'year' on this planet lasts only 1.18 Earth-days! The newly discovered Solar System is unique in several respects. First of all, with at least five Neptune-like planets lying within a distance equivalent to the orbit of Mars, this system is more populated than our own Solar System in its inner region, and has many more massive planets there. Furthermore, the system probably has no Jupiter-like gas giant. In addition, all the planets seem to have almost circular orbits. Dynamical studies of the new system reveal complex interactions between planets and give us insights into its long-term evolution. Using the new discovery as well as data for other planetary systems, the astronomers discovered that the locations of the planets seem to follow a regular pattern — similar to the "Titius-Bode" law that exists in our Solar System. This could be a general signature of how planetary systems form. Another important result is that all very massive planetary systems are found around massive and metal-rich stars, while the four lowest-mass systems are found around lower-mass and metal-poor stars. These properties confirm current theoretical models. There is no doubt that this remarkable discovery highlights the fact that we are now entering a new era in exoplanet science: the study of complex planetary systems and not just of individual planets!! And with HARPS, European astronomers will be a driving force behind this transition. --- ESOcast is produced by ESO, the European Southern Observatory. ESO, the European Southern Observatory, is the pre-eminent intergovernmental science and technology organisation in astronomy designing, constructing and operating the world's most advanced ground-based telescopes. • http://eso.org
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http://gplus.to/TonyDarnell http://facebook.com/SpaceFan New Class of Exoplanet Discovered http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/2012/pr201204.html http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2012/13/full/ http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1204/ https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/~zberta/mearth/Welcome.html Very bright Outburst from Andromeda: http://www.ras.org.uk/news-and-press/219-news-2012/2075-spectacularly-bright-object-in-andromeda-caused-by-normal-black-hole http://www.mpe.mpg.de/News/PR20120223/text.html Faster Than Light Neutrinos? Not so much http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2012/02/official-word-on-superluminal-ne.html?ref=hp
Astronomers using ESO's leading exoplanet hunter HARPS have today announced more than fifty newly discovered planets around other stars. Among these are many rocky planets not much heavier than the Earth. One of them in particular seems to orbit in the habitable zone around its star. This ESOcast we look at how astronomers discover these distant worlds and what the future may hold for finding rocky worlds like the Earth that may support life. Credits and download options are available on: http://www.eso.org/public/videos/eso1134a/
Science & Reason on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/ScienceReason Hubblecast 22: Hubble Space Telescope Directly Observes Exoplanet Orbiting Fomalhaut. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has discovered an extrasolar planet, for the first time using direct visible-light imaging. The strange world is far-flung from its parent star, is surrounded by a colossal belt of gas and dust, and may even have rings more impressive than Saturn's. --- Subscribe to Science & Reason: • http://www.YouTube.com/Best0fScience • http://www.YouTube.com/ScienceMagazine • http://www.YouTube.com/ScienceTV • http://www.YouTube.com/FFreeThinker --- Credit: - ESA/Hubble (M. Kornmesser & L. L. Christensen) - Visual design & Editing: Martin Kornmesser - Animations: Martin Kornmesser & Luis Calçada - Web Hosting: Leibniz-Rechenzentrum (LRZ) - Web Technical Support: Lars Holm Nielsen & Raquel Yumi Shida - Written by: Lee Pullen & Lars Lindberg Christensen - Host: Dr. J - Narration: Bob Fosbury - Cinematography: Peter Rixner - Music: movetwo - Footage and photos: A. Fujii, Digitized Sky Survey 2, NASA, ESA, and P. Kalas (University of California, Berkeley). Acknowledgment: Davide De Martin (ESA/Hubble) - Directed by: Lars Lindberg Christensen Dr. J is a German astronomer at the ESO. His scientific interests are in cosmology, particularly on galaxy evolution and quasars. Dr. J's real name is Joe Liske and he has a PhD in astronomy. Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre Garching/Munich, Germany • http://www.eso.org • http://www.spacetelescope.org • http://hubblesite.org .
Hubble Space Telescope Directly Observes Exoplanet Planet Orbiting Fomalhaut Hubblecast 22 HD NASA ESA ESO JPL Cast Spitzer Very Large Telescopes VLT Station Shuttle Universe Big Bang Black Holes Dark Matter Energy Ultra Deep Field Galaxies Milky Way Stars Solar System Stellar Supernova Nebulae Clusters Planets Moons Exoplanets Mars Sun Gamma Rays Speed Of Light Cosmic Mission Herschel Planck Kepler Sagan Hawking Cobe Science Astronomy Astro Physics Astronomers Videos Images
A potentially habitable alien planet — one that scientists say is the best candidate yet to harbor water, and possibly even life, on its surface — has been found around a nearby star. The planet is located in the habitable zone of its host star, which is a narrow circumstellar region where temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist on the planet's surface. "It's the Holy Grail of exoplanet research to find a planet around a star orbiting at the right distance so it's not too close where it would lose all its water and boil away, and not too far where it would all freeze," Steven Vogt, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told SPACE.com. "It's right smack in the habitable zone — there's no question or discussion about it. It's not on the edge, it's right in there." Vogt is one of the authors of the new study, which was led by Guillem Anglada-Escudé and Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution for Science, a private, nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C. "This planet is the new best candidate to support liquid water and, perhaps, life as we know it," Anglada-Escudé said in a statement. The researchers estimate that the planet, called GJ 667Cc, is at least 4.5 times as massive as Earth, which makes it a so-called super-Earth. It takes roughly 28 days to make one orbital lap around its parent star, which is located a mere 22 light-years away from Earth, in the constellation Scorpius (the Scorpion). "This is basically our next-door neighbor," Vogt said. "It's very nearby. There are only about 100 stars closer to us than this one." Interestingly enough, the host star, GJ 667C, is a member of a triple-star system. GJ 667C is an M-class dwarf star that is about a third of the mass of the sun, and while it is faint, it can be seen by ground-based telescopes, Vogt said. [Gallery: The Strangest Alien Planets] "The planet is around one star in a triple-star system," Vogt explained. "The other stars are pretty far away, but they would look pretty nice in the sky." The discovery of a planet around GJ 667C came as a surprise to the astronomers, because the entire star system has a different chemical makeup than our sun. The system has much lower abundances of heavy elements (elements heavier than hydrogen and helium), such as iron, carbon and silicon. "It's pretty deficient in metals," Vogt said. "These are the materials out of which planets form — the grains of stuff that coalesce to eventually make up planets — so we shouldn't have really expected this star to be a likely case for harboring planets." The fortuitous discovery could mean that potentially habitable alien worlds could exist in a greater variety of environments than was previously thought possible, the researchers said. "Statistics tell us we shouldn't have found something this quickly this soon unless there's a lot of them out there," Vogt said. "This tells us there must be an awful lot of these planets out there. It was almost too easy to find, and it happened too quickly." MORE HERE: The CELESTIAL Convergence http://thecelestialconvergence.blogspot.com/2012/02/another-earth-extraterrestrial.html FAIR USE NOTICE: These pages/video may contain copyrighted (© ) material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available to advance understanding of ecological, POLITICAL, HUMAN RIGHTS, economic, DEMOCRACY, scientific, MORAL, ETHICAL, and SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior general interest in receiving similar information for research and educational.