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Get Ready to Welcome Pluto Back as a Planet
Get Ready to Welcome
Pluto Back as a Planet

Get Ready to Welcome Pluto Back as a Planet

Astronomer thinks Ceres will join the club, too

(Newser) - Vanderbilt astronomer David Weintraub thinks Pluto was wrongly kicked out of the planet club in 2006. But he's confident that this is going to be a very big year for Pluto and for another so-called "dwarf planet" named Ceres, he writes in the Conversation . NASA spacecraft will visit...

Giant Exoplanet&#39;s Rings a &#39;Super Saturn&#39;
 Giant Exoplanet's 
 Rings a 'Super Saturn' 

Giant Exoplanet's Rings a 'Super Saturn'

Impressive 30-ring system is 200 times larger than Saturn

(Newser) - In 2012, scientists discovered a giant exoplanet (one that orbits a star other than our sun) with a ring system so impressive it eclipses its own host star. Now, thanks to a recent eclipse where planet J1407b lined up in front of host star J1407, scientists at the University of...

Two Planets May Lurk Beyond Pluto

Astronomers can't otherwise explain behavior of objects way out there

(Newser) - It might soon be time to change all those grade-school dioramas of the solar system again: Astronomers think at least two more planets exist, reports Universe Today . In two studies from the UK and Spain, scientists say the planets' existence is the only way to explain why objects are behaving...

Jupiter's Red Spot Isn't What We Thought It Was

Researchers re-create phenomenon in lab

(Newser) - Scientists have made their own version of Jupiter's Great Red Spot in a lab, and it suggests that the spot's cause is very different from what's been postulated. An existing theory holds that the spot is the result of chemicals underneath the planet's clouds. But following...

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...

NASA Hits 715-Planet &#39;Jackpot&#39;
 NASA Hits 715-Planet 'Jackpot' 

NASA Hits 715-Planet 'Jackpot'

Kepler data massively boosts number of known worlds

(Newser) - NASA says it has almost doubled the number of planets known to humanity with a "bonanza" uncovered by its planet-hunting Kepler telescope. The 715 new planets orbit 305 stars in multi-planet systems like our own, and 94% of them are smaller than Neptune. NASA says it has found...

Alien Life? Maybe Believers Were Right All Along

Bloomberg editors: Each new discovery seems to improve the odds

(Newser) - The editors at Bloomberg aren't exactly making the case that little green men are out there, but they think it's high time we all wrapped our heads around the possibility of alien life. Consider that just this week, a study found that billions of Earth-like planets exist, each...

Milky Way Has 17B Planets the Size of Ours

And that's a conservative estimate

(Newser) - Before we start feeling too special about our home planet, scientists have a message: There are at least 17 billion planets the size of Earth in the Milky Way alone, reports. About 17% of our galaxy's stars have Earth-size exoplanets closely orbiting them—so 100 billion stars...

Milky Way: Home to 100B+ Planets
 Milky Way: Home to 
 100B+ Planets 

new study

Milky Way: Home to 100B+ Planets

New study comes up with conservative estimate

(Newser) - Scientists have done a sort of "cosmic census," completing a new study that finds the Milky Way galaxy is home to 100 billion alien planets—and maybe even many more than that. "It's a staggering number, if you think about it," says the lead author....

Mercury Harbors Lots of Ice
 Mercury Harbors Lots of Ice 

Mercury Harbors Lots of Ice

Frozen water confirmed at planet's north pole

(Newser) - Just in time for Christmas, scientists have confirmed a vast amount of ice at the north pole—on Mercury, the closest planet to the sun. The findings are from NASA's Mercury-orbiting probe, Messenger, and the subject of three scientific papers released today by the journal Science. The frozen water...

'Tatooine-Like' Planet Found With 4 Suns

Astronomers discover world about 5K light-years away

(Newser) - Luke Skywalker would not consider this a big deal, but some of us earthlings are getting excited. Astronomers have discovered a Tatooine-like planet that orbits two suns and is also orbited by two other stars, reports. Called PH1, the gas giant is about six times bigger than Earth...

Moon No. 5 Found for Pluto
 Moon No. 5 Found for Pluto 

Moon No. 5 Found for Pluto

Just 6 miles across, P5 is Pluto's smallest moon yet

(Newser) - It's not a chapter in the Twilight series, but it is a new moon: astronomers have discovered a tiny fifth satellite revolving around distant Pluto, reports . One year after P4 was announced, now the Hubble Telescope has spied a fifth moon. Pluto's biggest moon, Charon, is...

Oddly Close Alien Planets Witness Huge 'Planetrise'

Kepler Space Telescope spots them 1,200 light-years away

(Newser) - Two far-flung planets are orbiting the same star so closely that they can appear to each other as giant, colorful moons, reports. Spotted by the Kepler Space Telescope, a craggy "super-Earth" and a gaseous, Neptune-size world are 1,200 light-years away, but just 1.2 million miles...

Mars Rover Moves for 1st Time in 5 Months

Had to weather Martian winter

(Newser) - The Mars rover Opportunity is on the go again. After spending nearly five months conducting experiments in one spot, the NASA rover moved for the first time this week, rolling off the rock outcrop where it hunkered down for the Martian winter. The mission team received confirmation late Tuesday that...

Milky Way Has Tens of Billions of Habitable Planets

These super-Earths are all over the galaxy, say scientists

(Newser) - Could aliens be hanging out in the Milky Way? A new discovery by astronomers shows they'd have plenty of possible homes in the galaxy, reports Reuters . The researchers found that tens of billions of planets reside in a habitable zone close to a star, allowing water to flow on...

Venus, Jupiter Nestle Nice and Close Tonight

Planets will dazzle skywatchers with annual get-together

(Newser) - Look out the window tonight and you'll see two planetary pals coming together for their annual rendezvous. Venus and Jupiter, which have been approaching each other for months, will finally dazzle skywatchers this week by nestling nice and close—from our perspective, in fact, just a few inches apart....

Venus, Jupiter, Moon Come Together This Weekend

Stargazers will be able to see convergence around the world

(Newser) - Venus, Jupiter, and Earth's moon are coming together Saturday and Sunday to put on a brilliant show in the night sky, the AP reports. Venus and Jupiter have already been lining up, and a crescent moon will join them this weekend; stargazers will be able to see the convergence...

Is Jupiter&#39;s Core Dissolving?
 Is Jupiter's Core Dissolving? 

Is Jupiter's Core Dissolving?

Theory holds that midsection is slowly shrinking

(Newser) - Jupiter may be the largest planet in our solar system, but what if its massive core is actually dissolving? Jupiter's core of iron, rock, and ice is suspended in a sea of hydrogen and helium, under pressure 40 million times greater than that which we experience on Earth, and...

Jumping Jupiter! 5th Giant Planet Evicted Eons Ago

Theory says it got knocked out of our early solar system

(Newser) - Our young solar system may have had another huge planet that got knocked into deep space by Jupiter, reports Wired . Astronomers at the Southwest Research Institute in Texas arrived at this "Jumping Jupiter" theory because computer simulations can't figure out how our modern solar system emerged as is...

Venus Has Ozone Layer, Too
 Venus Has Ozone Layer, Too 

Venus Has Ozone Layer, Too

It joins Earth and Mars

(Newser) - Venus has joined Earth and Mars in the ozone layer club. A spacecraft from the European Space Agency detected a thin layer about 60 miles above the planet, reports the BBC . Ozone protects Earth from the sun's ultraviolet rays, and astronomers say the discovery could help fine-tune their hunt...

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