Tag Archives: exoplanets

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After scanning the vast reaches of the cosmos for Earth-like planets where life might exist, astronomers have found one right next door.

Source: Earth-like planet found orbiting the star next door – Technology & Science – CBC News

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Vulcan: the planet that never was

This blog has frequently lamented the demotion of Pluto. After being expelled from the company of planets, it now resides in the newly-named Plutoids, in the company of Eris, Sedna and other dwarf planets. Another one-time planet suffered a worse, and lonelier, fate one hundred years ago.

The planet Vulcan came into (theoretical) being as a solution to the problem of Mercury‘s orbit, which deviated from the track that Newton’s laws laid down for it. Continue reading

Vega: the jewel in the Harp

Vega is the fifth brightest star in the sky, a brilliant blue-white star two and a half times larger than the sun. It takes turns with Polaris and Thuban as the pole star, and will be the nearest star to the celestial north pole again in 14 000 AD.

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Aldebaran: the Bull’s Eye

As you can see from the picture above, Aldebaran is the bull’s left eye, and the brightest star in Taurus. It appears ruddy through a telescope, suggesting that Taurus is an angry bull. The V-shape of the bull’s face, known as the Hyades, makes it easy to find.

The Arabic name reflects its position: the Follower, since it rises after the Pleiades, the stars that make up the bull’s shoulder. It is primarily a winter star, and by now will be visible in the sky around dawn.

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Astrophysicists outline what Planet Nine might be like – if indeed it exists.

Source: Planet Nine’s profile fleshed out – BBC News

Fomalhaut: the Fish’s Mouth

Fomalhaut was one of the four year-stars. Since the other three belong to the “fixed” astrological signs Taurus, Leo and Scorpio, Fomalhaut is assumed to be associated with Aquarius, the fourth fixed sign. It can be seen low in the southern sky in the fall, and can be seen due south around 11:00 p.m. in early October.

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Astronomers discover the largest known solar system, consisting of a large planet that takes a million years to orbit its star.

Source: Astronomers discover largest solar system – BBC News

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Planet would orbit the sun once every 15,000 years

Source: Astronomers say a Neptune-sized planet lurks beyond Pluto | Science | AAAS

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Understanding whether Jupiter’s relative uniqueness is a real feature, or another product of selection effects, has real implications for our understanding of exoplanets.

Source: Look for ‘Jupiters’ to Find Solar Systems Like Ours