It's only 42 light years away, it could have liquid water, and it's more than seven times bigger than our planet (in mass). So once we destroy this one, we're all set.
This latest super-Earth is called HD 40307g. It may sound like a tax form, but it's almost guaranteed to be paradise. It's right in a sweet spot orbit around HD 40307, a smaller star than the sun in the constellation of Pictor, where liquid water is possible. And the IRS can't reach you.
Three exoplanets were already known to orbit the star from observations up to 2008 but they are likely too close for liquid water. A new study of the data by researchers at the University of Hertfordshire in Britain revealed an additional three planets, with the farthest about as far from the star as Venus is to our sun. … Read more
Do you dream of traveling to the stars? Unless you've got $20 million and change for a ticket to orbit, Vito Technology's Solar Walk is about as close as you're going to get.
This jaw-dropping iOS app provides a wholly interactive 3D model of our solar system, one that's had me hooked for days. It's the kind of thing you can imagine a science teacher using in the classroom of the future -- except that we don't have to wait.
Solar Walk works like an outer-space edition of Google Earth, letting you rotate, zoom, … Read more
Who needs Helvetica when you can write in a font made from real galaxies?
The font comes courtesy of Galaxy Zoo, a citizen science project that enlists volunteers to classify the observable universe's billions of galaxies on the Web for scientific use. In their wanderings, the galaxy watchers spotted a select few galaxies that resemble the ABCs.
"The Zooites started collecting these peculiar galaxies on the Redirect Galaxy Zoo Forum, the most beautifully simple, the most spectacular, the most messy, even those that happen to look like animals and, here we get to the point, letters of the alphabet," said Steven Bamford, a senior research fellow at the University of Nottingham's Centre for Astronomy and Particle Theory in the U.K. who created the unusual font as part of his work with Galaxy Zoo. … Read more
PALOMAR MOUNTAIN, Calif.--If you want to talk big scientific breakthroughs, how about quasars and supernovae?
Those are just two of the most important discoveries in the long, very storied history of the Palomar Observatory, a set of telescopes and other astronomical instruments located at the top of this mountain northeast of San Diego. And while the facility no longer holds quite the place in the astronomy community that it once had, for most of the second half of the 20th century, it was the undisputed champion of the world.
Of all the cataclysmic threats facing humanity, the one that could really wipe us off the map -- a hit by a truly massive asteroid -- gets relatively little in terms of resources.
The B612 Foundation aims to change that with the launch of a space telescope that would try to track half a million asteroids in the inner solar system believed to be larger than the one that hit Russia's Tunguska in 1908, causing enormous damage.
The Tunguska object's size and nature remains a matter of debate. But only 1 percent of larger asteroids have been mapped so far, according to B612, which was named after the fictional asteroid home of the Little Prince. … Read more
The stars aligned early this week for the transit of Venus, a special astronomical phenomenon that usually only occurs twice in a century. During this happening, observers can view Venus' passage across the sun from Earth. After it completes the final stretch on June 6, the event won't occur again until December 11, 2117.
Crave scoured the photo-sharing site Flickr and found some truly mesmerizing shots from amateur photographers based in the U.S., as well as several snaps from people planted elsewhere around the world.… Read more
One of the rarest celestial events viewable from Earth will occur Tuesday -- the planet Venus will make a trek across the face of the sun. Such an event has only been observed six times in recorded history, and the next occurrence won't come until 2117, so space buffs are gearing up for the big show.
One way to stay tuned -- and also help scientists record Venus' voyage -- is by using an app called VenusTransit. With this app, which is available on Android and iOS, amateur astronomers can join the ranks of historic explorers like Capt. James … Read more
The Williamson Gallery at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., recently teamed with neighbor and NASA/Caltech affiliate the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to create an exhibition of photos that dazzles one with the visual extravagance of the cosmos.
"The History of Space Photography" features 150 images, selected by guest curator Jay Belloli and several consultants at JPL. Most are from the last 50 years or so, but some date back as far as the 19th century.
The exhibition wrapped up its inaugural showing at Art Center earlier in May, but it's scheduled to begin a tour of science museums in India this November, and will touch down at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in New York next year. (Space fanatics should get started on those travel arrangements now.)… Read more
It seems that these days, every time you sneeze, yawn, or scratch your nose, another giant asteroid is screaming past the Earth, closer than the moon.
We saw it happen last November, when a space stone the size of an aircraft carrier all but sideswiped us. Then in March it happened again, when a relatively modest cosmic rock -- this one the size of a mere passenger jet -- shot on by. … Read more