June 3, 2013 |
Scientists have snapped an image of a newly discovered alien world that is just 300 light-years from Earth. The planet, dubbed HD 95086 b, is huge--four to five times the size of Jupiter -- and it makes a wide circle around its young sun, orbiting the star at twice the distance between our sun and Neptune. Despite the wide orbit, scientists estimate that the planet is burning hot with surface temperatures around 700 degrees Celsius (almost 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit). Still, it is possible that water vapor could exist in its atmosphere, as well as methane gas, said Gaël Chauvin, one of the scientists who helped discover the planet, in a statement.
May 24, 2013 |
Looks can be deceiving, especially when it comes to nebulae. From here on Earth, the well-studied Ring Nebula looks like a fiery, slightly misshapen ring with fuzzy edges and a hole in its center. But using data collected from the Hubble Telescope, and land-based observations, astronomers have revealed that the shape of the Ring Nebula is more complex than previously thought. PHOTOS: Amazing images from space It turns out that what looks like an empty space in the center of the nebula is actually filled with low-density material that stretches toward Earth and away from us. If we could rotate the nebula 90 degrees and look at it from the side, we would see that the ring is thick--kind of like a doughnut--and that wedged inside its hole is another shape that looks like a cross between a rugby ball and a Tylenol gel capsule.
May 1, 2013 |
The 2013 California salmon season begins Wednesday. That alone is cause for celebration, but even better news is that this looks like it could be a great year for fish. The California salmon harvest has been bedeviled by a whole host of problems - pollution, global warming, water politics - that resulted in little or no fish being caught commercially between 2008 and 2012. Last year was the first season with a significant catch, and this year's looks to be just as good, if not better.
February 20, 2013 |
NASA scientists have discovered a faraway planet that's smaller than Mercury - far tinier than they expected they could find when they launched the Kepler space telescope nearly four years ago. The hot, rocky world orbits a sun-like star that's about 210 light-years from Earth. Astronomers are excited about it because it's smaller than any planet in our solar system, said astrophysicist Thomas Barclay of NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. "This is the smallest exoplanet that's ever been found," said Barclay, lead author of a report on the discovery published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
February 6, 2013 |
Scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., said Wednesday morning that an "Earth-like" planet -- that is, a small rocky planet warm enough to have liquid water on its surface and potentially capable of hosting life -- could be as close as 13 light-years away. It's hardly "next door" (as a press release touting the announcement put it), in any traditional sense: 13 light-years is something like 76 trillion miles away. But across the vast distances of the Milky Way, said Harvard astronomer Courtney Dressing, 13 light-years amounts to "a stroll in the park.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 10, 2012 |
Wallace L.W. Sargent, a Caltech astrophysicist known for his observations of black holes, quasars and other celestial objects at the farthest reaches of the universe, died Oct. 29 at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles, according to a Caltech spokesman. He was 77 and had been battling prostate cancer. A professor emeritus of astronomy, Sargent arrived at Caltech from his native Britain in 1959 and spent three years as a research fellow. He returned to the university in 1966 as an assistant professor and became a full professor in 1971.