planet

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Teen Intern on 3rd Day: What's This Black Dot?

Wolf Cukier, 17, spotted a new planet for NASA

(Newser) - There's nothing like a good intern—and Wolf Cukier proves it. The New York teen joined a NASA program last summer and spotted an unknown planet orbiting two stars about 1,300 light-years away. "It was awesome," he tells the New York Times . "I never expected... More »

Planet 9 Might Not Be a Planet

Two young PhDs offer a bold new theory

(Newser) - "What if Planet 9 is a Primordial Black Hole?" That's the title of a new paper about the mysterious gravity source at the edge of our solar system, Business Insider reports. Posted Tuesday on arXiv , the paper suggests that the still-unseen source—which some call Planet Nine, or... More »

Planet Has Both Water, Temperature Needed for Life

It's a big first

(Newser) - In a tantalizing first, scientists have discovered water at a planet outside our solar system that has temperatures suitable for life, the AP reports. Two research groups announced this week that they've found water vapor in the atmosphere of a planet 110 light-years away in the constellation Leo. This... More »

Astronomers Find 'Forbidden Planet'

It's an exoplanet extremely close to a star

(Newser) - You can call it NGTS-4b if you're being formal, but astronomers have given their unprecedented new discovery a much sexier name—the Forbidden Planet. The reason for a label right out of a sci-fi thriller is that this exoplanet has been found where scientists didn't think one could... More »

Pluto Got Robbed, Say Astronomers

It deserves to be a planet, say University of Central Florida researchers

(Newser) - Pluto deserves to be a planet again, says new research out of the University of Central Florida. Scientists there think the 2006 rules used to boot Pluto from the planet club are bogus, and they recommend a different standard under which it would qualify, per a UCF release . The researchers... More »

Diamond From the Sky May Have Formed in 'Lost Planet'

Meteorite has traces of proto-planet, researchers say

(Newser) - Fragments of a meteorite that fell to Earth a decade ago provide compelling evidence of a lost planet that once roamed our solar system, researchers say. A team from Switzerland, France, and Germany examined diamonds found inside the Almahata Sitta meteorite and concluded they were most likely formed by a... More »

It Seems Likely Solar System Is Hiding Huge Planet

NASA unveils new evidence for mysterious 'Planet Nine'

(Newser) - Astronomically inclined conspiracy theorists have long been predicting the Earth's demise in a collision with a rogue planet called "Niburu" or "Planet X" biding its time out of sight somewhere in the solar system, CNET reports. In fact, Niburu was "supposed" to crash into Earth just... More »

Part of Earth's Original Crust Found in Canada

4.3B years of history lie in new discovery

(Newser) - Remnants of the planet’s original crust have been unearthed in Quebec, according to a study in Science . The remnants date back about 4.3 billion years and were found embedded in younger granite near Hudson Bay, reports Live Science . While the granite itself is only 2.7 billion years... More »

9th Planet May Solve 'Mystery' of Our Solar System

It could explain why orbits are tilted 6 degrees

(Newser) - New research may have solved a "deep-rooted mystery" about our solar system and lent credence to the theory that there's a ninth planet chilling beyond Pluto. (Sorry, buddy.) Researchers at Caltech, including Konstantin Batygin and Mike "Pluto Killer" Brown (who first floated the "Planet Nine"... More »

Scientists 'Hit the Jackpot' With Outer-Space Discovery

Earth-like planet found right next-door

(Newser) - After scanning the vast reaches of the cosmos for Earth-like planets where life might exist, astronomers have found one right next door, the AP reports. A planet that is rocky like Earth and only slightly bigger has been discovered orbiting Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to our solar system, scientists... More »

Finally, an Explanation for Mercury's Dark Surface

Comets didn't carry in the carbon, but rather disrupted what was already there

(Newser) - Mercury's mysterious surface darkness has baffled scientists: Though it's far closer to the sun than our moon, the latter reflects more sunlight. Last year, it was proposed that the root cause is carbon. As Patrick Peplowski of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory tells the Christian Science ... More »

Kepler 'Rises From the Ashes,' Finds a 'Super-Earth'

Unlivable new planet about 2.5 times the size of Earth discovered during K2 mission

(Newser) - The Kepler spacecraft has had its shares of ups and downs since its 2009 launch. The downs have included a 2013 mechanical failure that left Kepler supposedly "beyond repair" . The ups have included a "resourceful strategy" that made use of pressure from sunlight to allow Kepler to be... More »

To Search for Aliens, Look for ... Air Pollution?

Air pollution could signal intelligent life on other planets: researchers

(Newser) - Astrobiologists look for extraterrestrial life by searching for gases (i.e. methane and oxygen) that suggest the possibility of life, or for radio or laser signals in the hopes of communicating with distant alien life forms. But now a team of astronomers at Harvard is suggesting we also look for... More »

Finally, Evidence of Other World That Helped Form Moon

Lunar rocks bolster a long-held theory about how the moon was created

(Newser) - A new analysis of three lunar rocks brought back by Apollo astronauts in the '60s breathes new life into an old theory some thought too simple: that the moon was created when another planet, Theia, crashed into Earth billions of years ago, leaving behind molten debris that eventually cooled... More »

'Godzilla of Earths' Could Harbor Life

Kepler-10c is massive, old, and rocky—a shocking combination

(Newser) - Kepler-10c is a big, rocky planet that may harbor life—but what's most interesting is how big and rocky it is, Space.com reports. An exoplanet about 560 light-years away in the constellation Draco, Kepler-10c was spotted in 2011 and assumed to be gaseous because of its size. But... More »

Jupiter's Great Red Spot Has Really Shrunk

It looks more like a circle than an oval

(Newser) - The signature red spot we see in pictures of Jupiter could fit three Earths next to each other—in the late 1800s. The Great Red Spot is getting smaller, and the reason is a mystery, Reuters reports. It was some 25,000 miles across in the late 19th century; by... More »

Scientists Find Mysterious Changes in Earth's Spin

Something at Earth's core responsible for changes every 6 years

(Newser) - How fast our planet turns—and, in turn, how long our day is—is not a stagnant thing. In fact, it changes every 5.9 years, according to a new study published in Nature . The Earth spins slightly faster or slower on a regular cycle, adding or subtracting milliseconds to... More »

Water Vapor Found on Distant Planet

Astronomers take incredibly close look at far-away gas giant

(Newser) - Scientists say they've spotted water vapor and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere of a huge gas planet some 130 light-years from Earth, NBC News reports. That doesn't mean life exists there—the planet, HR 8799c, is way too hot and gassy—but it does highlight our growing ability... More »

Scientists Spot Smallest Planet Ever Seen

Exoplanet Kepler-37b is the size of our moon

(Newser) - Scientists have discovered the smallest known planet, just a third of the size of the Earth. Mercury, the smallest in our solar system, is two-fifths Earth's size, the AP notes; the new discovery, Kepler-37b, is a far-off exoplanet. "This research shows for the first time that other stellar... More »

World's Oldest Trees Dying at Alarming Rate

Research shows 10 times the normal death rate

(Newser) - In what one researcher calls a "very, very disturbing trend," new research finds that the planet's oldest trees have started dying at 10 times the normal rate, a change that could greatly damage the planet's ecosystems and biodiversity. Researchers blame logging, development, drought, and climate change... More »

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