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Next Launch CLIO on a Atlas V 401 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL
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16 Sep 14 21:44:00 GMT
16 Sep 14 17:44:00 EDT

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No Water, Please: The Case of the Surprisingly Dry 'Hot Jupiters'

This is an artistic illustration of the gas giant planet HD 209458b in the constellation Pegasus. The planet was recently studied by astronomers alongside two other similar extrasolar worlds, for their abundance in water. To the surprise of astronomers, they have found much less water vapor in the planets’ atmospheres than standard planet-formation models [...]

Astronomers Discover First Ice Giant Exoplanet Candidate in Long-Period Orbit

This artist’s concept shows Kepler-421b, a Uranus-sized transiting exoplanet with the longest known year, circling its star once every 704 days. Kepler-421b orbits an orange, K-type star that is cooler and dimmer than our Sun and is located about 1,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. Image Credit/Caption: Harvard-Smithsonian, Center for Astrophysics/D. A. [...]

Astronomers Discover First Ever Terrestrial Exoplanet in Earth-Type Orbit, Around Red Dwarf Binary Star System

An artist’s rendering of the newly discovered exoplanet OGLE-2013-BLG-0341LBb (far right) orbiting one star (right) of a binary red dwarf star system, from an Earth-type distance of approximately 0.9 Astronomical Units away. Image Credit: Cheongho Han, Chungbuk National University, Republic of Korea

The discovery of yet another exoplanet orbiting outside of the habitable zone [...]

Hubble Discovers Two Potential KBO Targets for NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft, Follows Up With Additional Search

Discovery images of the two Kuiper Belt Objects named 1110113Y and 0720090F respectively, taken with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The image at left shows the first KBO at an estimated distance of approximately 4 billion miles from Earth. Its position noticeably shifts between exposures taken approximately 10 minutes apart. The image at right shows [...]

Hubble Space Telescope Starts Search for Kuiper Belt Objects as New Horizons Races Toward Pluto

An artist’s rendering of the New Horizons spacecraft, encountering a Kuiper Belt Object during its extended mission following its Pluto flyby. The Hubble space telescope has started searching for a suitable KBO so that the spacecraft’s extended mission can take place. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

With the [...]

The Continuing Saga of Planet X: Could More Massive Planets Hide Beyond Pluto?

An artist’s impression of Eris, the most massive dwarf planet known to date, with an aphelion of 97 AU from the Sun. Could bigger Super-Earth-type planets be orbiting even farther out? Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada and Nick Risinger

 

Just like the proverbial cat with nine lives, the notion of an unseen planet orbiting [...]

'Something Wonderful!': Preparing to Illuminate the Realms of the Planetary Underworld—An Interview With Dr. Alan Stern

A computer-generated impression of the view from the surface of Pluto. The Sun looks like a very bright star on the sky (upper right), while Charon, Pluto’s biggest satellite, looms large near the horizon (at left). Next year, NASA’s New Horizons mission will replace our artistic impressions of the planet and its moons with [...]

From a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Astronomers Discover Ancient Super-Earths in Our Galactic Neighborhood

Artistic representation of the recently discovered, potentially habitable world Kapteyn b, with the globular cluster Omega Centauri in the background. It is believed that the Omega Centauri is the remaining core of a dwarf galaxy that merged with our own galaxy billions of years ago, bringing Kapteyn’s star along. Credit/Caption: PHL @ UPR Arecibo, [...]

Of Alien Life and Intelligence: Are We Ready for Contact? (Part 3)

A new study cautions that humanity isn’t yet ready to contact any extraterrestrial intelligence, while proposing that SETI should not be involved in transmitting any radio signals to other civilisations that might be out in the Universe. How accurate is this view? Image Credit: José Antonio Peñas/Sinc

“Imagine how foolish you would feel if [...]

Of Alien Life and Intelligence: Angels and Demons (Part 2)

Looking up at the night sky we have mostly imagined other intelligent civilisations in the Universe as being either humanity’s entirely benevolent, wise teachers or its malevolent conquerers. How possible is it to make contact with just such types of civilisations? Image Credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi

“Life, even cellular life, may exist out yonder in [...]