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As we’ve reported recently, the likelihood of findings habitable Earth-sized worlds just seems to keep getting better and better. But now the latest calculations from a new paper out this week are almost mind-bending. Using what the authors call a “very careful extrapolation” of the rate of small planets observed around M dwarf stars by the Kepler spacecraft, they estimate there could be upwards of 100 billion Earth-sized worlds in the habitable zones of M dwarf or red dwarf stars in our galaxy. And since the population of these stars themselves are estimated to be around 100 billion in the Milky Way, that’s – on average – an Earth-sized world for every red dwarf star in our galaxy.
A new film called The View From Mars takes a look ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array), the huge international telescope project that was inaugurated in Chile this week. It is located in the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth and an area that bears a striking resemblance to the Red Planet.
Amateur astronomers have done more than just watch the skies, they’ve been a national security asset. In the mid-1950’s, it was realized that the reality of the Space Age was at best only a decade away. Sub-orbital German V-2 rockets captured by the Soviets and the United States were reaching higher and higher altitudes, and it was only a matter of time before orbital velocity would be achieved.
Ahh — there’s nothing like a beautiful sunny day in Gale crater! The rusty sand crunching beneath your wheels, a gentle breeze blowing at a balmy 6º C (43º F), Mount Sharp rising in the distance into a clear blue sky… wait, did I just say bluesky?
This visualization, produced using the Hayden Planetarium’s Digital Universe–the most comprehensive and scientifically accurate, three-dimensional map of the known universe– shows where the star HR 8799 is in relation to our solar system. Recently, a team of researchers led by the American Museum of Natural History used a suite of high-tech instrumentation and software called [...]
A blood-red comet appears in the sky. People quake in its wake. This phenomenon, which happens in the second season of the medieval fantasy Game of Thrones, had us all wondering – can you ever actually see a red comet? We talked to Matthew Knight, an astronomer at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona who observes comets. He [...]
If you’re reading this then you probably love space exploration, and if you love space exploration then you know how awesome the MESSENGER mission is — the incredibly successful venture by NASA, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington to orbit and study the first rock from the Sun in unprecedented detail. Since [...]
Jupiter’s bright Equatorial Zone swirls with dark patches, dubbed “hot spots” for their infrared glow. These holes in the ammonia clouds at the top of the atmosphere allow a glimpse into Jupiter’s darker, hotter layers below. In 1995 NASA’s Galileo spacecraft dropped a probe directly into a hot spot, taking the first and only in [...]
Size might matter when it comes to stars having habitable environments for planets, and in this case smaller might be better, as well as closer to Earth. A new study indicates that low mass stars may be the most abundant planet hosts in our galaxy. And since these smaller stars like M-dwarfs are plentiful, [...]
In this new video from Big Think, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says he’s almost embarrassed for our species that it takes a warning shot across our bow before legislators take seriously the advice they’ve been receiving from astronomers about getting serious about asteroid detection and deflection; that it’s a matter of when not if Earth will get [...]
After analyzing the first powder ever drilled from the interior of a Martian rock,NASA’s Curiosity rover discovered some of the key chemical ingredients necessary for life to have thrived on early Mars billions of years ago.
NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has discovered a pair of stars that has taken over the title for the third-closest star system to the sun. The duo is the closest star system discovered since 1916. Both stars in the new binary system are “brown dwarfs,” which are stars that are too small in mass [...]
Cats, celebrities and fictional creatures all have a home in the asteroid belt. That’s because the people that found these asteroids often have the privilege of naming the minor planets after anything they want — with a few guidelines, of course.
“Making the invisible visible” – the ISS Image Frontier from Christoph Malin on Vimeo. This is a tribute to the International Space Station Program as well as Dr. Don Pettit, NASA Astronaut and ISS Astrophotographer. It can not be emphasized enough, how Dr. Pettits innovative photographic work and his passion has changed the way we [...]