Kepler Finds Two Water Worlds 1200 Lights Years Away
Cambridge, MA (SPX) Apr 17, 2013 – In our solar system, only one planet is blessed with an ocean: Earth. Our home world is a rare, blue jewel compared to the deserts of Mercury, Venus and Mars. But what if our Sun had not one but two habitable ocean worlds? Astronomers have found such a planetary system orbiting the star Kepler-62. This five-planet system has two worlds in the habitable zone – the distance from their star a … more

Five-Planet System With Most Earth-Like Exoplanet Yet Found
Seattle WA (SPX) Apr 18, 2013 – A University of Washington astronomer has discovered perhaps the most Earth-like planet yet found outside the solar system by the Kepler Space Telescope. Eric Agol, a UW associate professor of astronomy, has identified Kepler 62f, a small, probably rocky planet orbiting a Sun-like star in the Lyra constellation. The planet is about 1.4 times the size of Earth, receives about half as much s … more

Study: Lack of magnetic field could render many exoplanets lifeless
Antioquia, Colombia (UPI) Apr 17, 2013 – Some Earth-like exoplanets that are seemingly habitable may be missing magnetic shielding, exposing them to damaging radiation, researchers in Colombia say. To support life as we know it, planets need thick, water-rich atmospheres and liquid surface water, Jorge Zuluaga at the University of Antioquia and colleagues said, but water can get blasted away by stellar winds unless the planet … more

ALMA Pinpoints Early Galaxies At Record Speed
Munich, Germany (ESO) Apr 17, 2013 – A team of astronomers has used the new ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) telescope to pinpoint the locations of over 100 of the most fertile star-forming galaxies in the early universe. ALMA is so powerful that, in just a few hours, it captured as many observations of these galaxies as have been made by all similar telescopes worldwide over a span of more than a decade. T … more

Astronomers observe ‘blazar’ emitting highest-energy light ever seen
Denver (UPI) Apr 16, 2013 – Astronomers meeting in Denver say the skies are being flooded with the brightest display of Gamma rays – the universe’s highest-energy light – ever seen. The source of the cosmic light show is a massive flare-up of Markarian 421, a “blazar” that hosts a supermassive black hole, they said. Markarian 421 is a hot topic of discussion at the American Physical Society meeting in Den … more