Habitable Planets Around Red Dwarf Stars

According to a recent study, tens of billions of planets around red dwarfs are likely capable of containing liquid water, dramatically increasing the potential to find signs of life somewhere other than Earth. Red dwarfs are stars that are fainter, cooler and less massive than the sun. These stars, which typically also live longer than Class G stars like the sun, are thought to make up about 80 percent of the stars in the Milky Way, astronomers have said.

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WISE Catches Aging Star Erupting With Dust

Astronomers by using images from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) reveal an old star in the throes of a fiery outburst, spraying the cosmos with dust. The findings offer a rare, real-time look at the process by which stars like our sun seed the universe with building blocks for other stars, planets and even life. The star, catalogued as WISE J180956.27-330500.2, was discovered in images taken during the WISE survey in 2010, the most detailed infrared survey to date of the entire celestial sky.

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Pleiades Snapped Detailed View of Envisat

The giant Envisat satellite, which is the world’s largest imaging satellite for civilian use, was photographed in stunning detail by a French spacecraft that is also designed to snap high-resolution images of Earth. The photo of Envisat in space reveals that the $2.9 billion spacecraft is intact and that its huge solar array is deployed. Envisat is a huge satellite that weighs about 17,600 pounds (8,000 kilograms).

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Cosmic Rays Have Left Scientists in Dark

Cosmic rays are charged subatomic particles that streak to Earth from deep in outer space. A few rare cosmic rays are extraordinarily powerful, with energies up to 100 million times greater than any attained by human-made particle colliders, such as CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. The sources of these cosmic rays are a mystery. According to study co-author Francis Halzen at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, principal investigator at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a massive telescope designed to find the tiny subatomic particles nature is capable of accelerating elementary particles to macroscopic energies.

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Missing Dark Matter

Dark matter is one of the greatest cosmic mysteries of our time, an invisible, intangible material thought to make up five-sixths of all matter in the universe. Scientists currently think it is composed of a new type of particle, one that interacts normally with gravity but only very weakly with all the other known forces of the universe. As such, dark matter is detectable only via the gravitational pull it generates.

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Rogue Alien Planets

According to study many wandering alien worlds, which were ejected from the solar systems in which they formed, likely find new homes with different suns. The finding could explain why some alien planets orbit extremely far from their stars.Study lead author Hagai Perets, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and co-author Thijs Kouwenhoven of China’s Peking University simulated the evolution of young star clusters containing about as many free-floating planets as stars.

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Solar Flares

Sun Erupted in an Amazing Solar Flares

The sun erupted in an amazing solar flare on April 16, unleashing an intense eruption of super-heated plasma that arced high above the star’s surface before blasting out into space. The powerful solar flare occurred at 1:45 p.m. EDT (1745 GMT) and registered as a moderate M1.7-class on the scale of sun storms, placing it firmly in the middle of the scale used by scientists to measure flare strength. The storm is not the strongest this year from the sun, but photos and video of the solar flare captured by NASA spacecraft revealed it to be an eye-popping display of magnetic plasma.

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Oldest and Closest White Dwarfs

Scientists from the University of Oklahoma have identified two white dwarf stars considered the oldest and closest known to man. Astronomers identified these 11- to 12-billion-year-old white dwarf stars only 100 light-years away from Earth. According to scientists these stars are the closest known examples of the oldest stars in the universe forming soon after the Big Bang. Mukremin Kilic, assistant professor of physics and astronomy in the OU College of Arts and Sciences and lead author on a recently published paper said that a white dwarf is like a hot stove, once the stove is off, it cools slowly over time.

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Lyrid Meteor Shower Will Reach Maximum Intensity This Week

The Lyrids are a strong meteor shower lasting from April 16 to April 26 each year. The Lyrid meteor shower is expected to reach maximum intensity overnight from Saturday to Sunday (April 21 to 22), with the best observing opportunities coming between midnight and dawn on the 22nd local time, experts say. The moon will be nearly new at that time, so its glare shouldn’t drown out too many of the Lyrids’ brief flashes. The dark skies could make a big difference for meteor-watchers, because the Lyrids are historically a mild shower.

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