Tag Archives | Planet


First exoplanet images from Gemini

After nearly a decade of development, construction, and testing, the world’s most advanced instrument for directly imaging planets around other stars is pointing skyward and producing its first images of planets outside our solar system. (The image at right shows the planet Beta Pictoris b, orbiting the star Beta Pictoris. The star is hidden behind […]

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Bolivian park most biodiverse area on planet

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) says Madidi National Park in northwest Bolivia may be the most biologically diverse place on Earth, boasting 11 percent of the world’s birds, more than 200 species of mammals, 300 types of fish, and 12,000 plant varieties. The new WCS assessment is based on the work of more than 50 […]

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Beetles reveal ecological speciation in action

Tiny leaf beetles that flit among the maple and willow trees in Vermont are providing scientists with some of the clearest evidence yet that environmental factors play a major role in the formation of new species. Vanderbilt University researcher Daniel Funk has been studying this odd group of leaf beetles (which resemble unappetizing caterpillar pellets) […]

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Telescope Tag-Team Nets New Planets

Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) have confirmed the extrasolar (outside our solar system) planet status of two of the 16 candidates discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope in a 2004 sweep of the sky. One of the new exoplanets has a mass a little below 10 Jupiter masses, while […]

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Stormy Times For Uranus

Two billion miles away in the atmosphere of Uranus, a dark vortex large enough to engulf two-thirds of the United States has appeared. Measuring 1,100 by 1,900 miles, the Hubble telescope captured images of the phenomenon which astronomers believe is a huge storm. Previous Hubble images of Uranus taken over the last decade have shown […]

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Earth’s Cousin Only 15 Light Years Away

Astronomers from the Ames Research Center and the University of California have discovered the most Earth-like planet yet, located only 15 light years from Earth. The new planet looks like a rocky world about 7.5 times as massive as the Earth. It travels in a nearly circular orbit only 2 million miles from its parent […]

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First Photo Of Planet Outside Our Solar System

A team of astronomers has confirmed the discovery of a giant extra-solar planet, approximately five times the mass of Jupiter, that is gravitationally bound to a young brown dwarf star. The research, appearing in Astronomy and Astrophysics, puts an end to a year long discussion on the nature of this object, which started with the […]

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Mars-like Soils Can Harbor Life

Chile’s Atacama desert gets rain perhaps once a decade and scientists believed that the driest Atacama soils were sterile. But a team of Arizona scientists now report that microbial life lurks beneath the arid surface of this absolute desert. “We found life, we can culture it, and we can extract and look at its DNA,” […]

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