The number of observed exoplanets - worlds circling distant stars - has passed 1,000. Of these, 12 could be potentially habitable - orbiting at a distance where it is neither "too hot" nor "too cold" for water to be liquid on the surface. The planets are given away by tiny dips in light as they pass in front of their stars or through gravitational "tugs" on the star from an orbiting world.These new worlds are listed in the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia The tally now stands at 1,010 new exoplanets, bolstered by 11 new finds from the UK's Wide Angle Search for Planets (Wasp). Abel Mendez of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico, said that although the number has rapidly increased in recent years, due to a lack of funding this figure is much lower than it could be. In January 2013, astronomers used Kepler's data to estimate that there could be at least 17 billion Earth-sized exoplanets in the Milky Way galaxy. They said that one in six stars could host an Earth-sized planet in close orbit.
... figuring out the universe is tough. There’s all these weird things — dark matter, quasars, cosmological expansion — that are genuinely difficult to get a good handle on. So anything that helps come to terms with how the cosmos works is commendable, and for that reason I really like this new 3-D map assembled by scientists working with the National Astronomical Observatory in Japan using data from the Subaru Telescope.
Great short astronmy article in Wired on the new 3D map from the national Astronomical Observatory in Japan. Article gets extra points for using NASA's brilliant timeline of the universe graphic representation of the evolution of the universe over 13.77 billion years developed for explaining the Wilkinson Microwave Anistropy Probe.
the world’s third-fastest supercomputer --known as Mira--will complete tests of its new upgraded software and begin running the largest cosmological simulations ever performed at Argonne National Laboratory. One point of interest is the HACC (for Hardware/Hybrid Accelerated Cosmology Code) the underpinning code base is modular and reconfigurable for different compute architectures including hybrid CPU and GPU architectures. Links for further information in the article sidebar. Click on the image or the title to learn more.
From the BBC Science column - Astronomers have found what looked like a three-planet system 42 light-years away is in fact a set of six planets - one a "super-Earth" in the habitable zone. Given the finding trend - this is going to be an increasing occurance. Its going to be interesting over the next decade as we strt being able to use the space based telecopes to assess composition and longer term perhaps atmospheric changes. Awesome. Click on the image or title to learn more.
"What the space age was seeking all along was not so much an expansion of physical space as an expansion of mind." -Marina Benjamin Join Jason Silva every we...
Jason Silva may not be everyone's cup of tea, but who ever his video and graphics team are -they have exquisite taste. Worth watching for the imagery alone - though the commentary is enjoyably over the top and inspirational too.
Astronomers trawling through a mess of stellar data discover that Tau Ceti, our nearest single Sun-like star, hosts five planets - one in its "habitable zone".
If like me you grew up reading science fiction that postulated Tau Ceti and Alpha Centuari as homes for alien life, you will be heartened to hear of the planetary findings around both starts. Tau Ceti appears to have at least 5 planets and one of which in the so called habitable zone. Currently the confirmed planets number 854 but its increasingly clear that many star systems have planets. Going to be interesting as we refine the techniques used for detection and evetually infered observation. Good article on BBC Science on how the planets were detected. Click the image or title to learn more
DTNP is go... Astronauts on the International Space Station use an experimental version of interplanetary internet (more correctly the Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) Protocol) to control a robot on Earth. Vint Cerf proposed this the basis of DTN over 10 years ago and the demonstration shows how communciations using the store and forward protocol are increasingly possible over very large distances. (a previous test was conducted with image transmition between earth and a remote satellite, 20 million miles away.). Click on the image or title to learn more via the BBC Technologiy article.
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft successfully berthed with the International Space Station this morning after a long overnight approach including several correction manouvers. Its a big day for space exloration and SpaceX today. Awesome. Learn more...