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Tag: NASA

When super-worlds get cloudy.

December 31, 2013 | By | Reply More
When super-worlds get cloudy.

Scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have characterized the atmospheres of two of the most common type of planets in the Milky Way galaxy and found both may be blanketed with clouds. The planets are GJ 436b, located 36 light-years from Earth in the constellation Leo, and GJ 1214b, 40 light-years away in the constellation […]

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It’s full of stars… no, planets!

November 5, 2013 | By | Reply More
It’s full of stars… no, planets!

NASA is excited about the discovery of 833 new candidate planets by the Kepler team. Ten of these candidates are less than twice the size of Earth and orbit in their sun’s habitable zone, which is defined as the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet may be […]

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Gravity (2013), a film review by Mark R. Leeper.

October 6, 2013 | By | 1 Reply More
Gravity (2013), a film review by Mark R. Leeper.

In a spacesuit you can’t bite your fingernails. On a mission to repair the Hubble telescope, things go very wrong and two astronauts are set adrift in space. They have to engineer their own rescue against huge odds. This is a film of solid tension and suspense set against the exquisite background of orbital space. […]

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Life on Titan… plastic based?

October 1, 2013 | By | Reply More
Life on Titan… plastic based?

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has detected propylene, a chemical used to make food-storage containers, car bumpers and other consumer products, on Saturn’s moon Titan. This is the first definitive detection of the plastic ingredient on any moon or planet, other than Earth. A small amount of propylene was identified in Titan’s lower atmosphere by Cassini’s Composite […]

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Cloud spotting on Kepler-7b.

October 1, 2013 | By | Reply More
Cloud spotting on Kepler-7b.

Astronomers using data from NASA’s Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes have created the first cloud map of a planet beyond our solar system, a sizzling, Jupiter-like world known as Kepler-7b. The world is marked by high clouds in the west and clear skies in the east. Previous studies from Spitzer have resulted in temperature maps […]

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NASA to Mars: Who (or ‘what’) is hiding the methane now?

September 19, 2013 | By | Reply More
NASA to Mars: Who (or ‘what’) is hiding the methane now?

Data from NASA’s Curiosity rover has revealed the Martian environment lacks methane. This is a surprise to researchers because previous data reported by U.S. and international scientists indicated positive detections. The roving laboratory performed extensive tests to search for traces of Martian methane. Whether the Martian atmosphere contains traces of the gas has been a […]

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Earth is not alone… there’s another blue planet.

July 13, 2013 | By | 1 Reply More
Earth is not alone… there’s another blue planet.

Astronomers making visible-light observations with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have deduced the actual color of a planet orbiting another star 63 light-years away. The planet is HD 189733b, one of the closest exoplanets that can be seen crossing the face of its star. Hubble’s Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph measured changes in the color of light […]

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NASA versus asteroids. Can humanity survive?

June 18, 2013 | By | Reply More
NASA versus asteroids. Can humanity survive?

NASA announced Tuesday a Grand Challenge focused on finding all asteroid threats to human populations and knowing what to do about them. The challenge, which was announced at an asteroid initiative industry and partner day at NASA Headquarters in Washington, is a large-scale effort that will use multi-disciplinary collaborations and a variety of partnerships with […]

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Neutron star is full of secrets…

May 29, 2013 | By | Reply More
Neutron star is full of secrets…

Astronomers using NASA’s Swift X-ray Telescope have observed a spinning neutron star suddenly slowing down, yielding clues they can use to understand these extremely dense objects. A neutron star is the crushed core of a massive star that ran out of fuel, collapsed under its own weight, and exploded as a supernova. A neutron star […]

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Hurricanes of Saturn.

April 29, 2013 | By | Reply More
Hurricanes of Saturn.

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has provided scientists the first close-up, visible-light views of a behemoth hurricane swirling around Saturn’s north pole. In high-resolution pictures and video, scientists see the hurricane’s eye is about 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) wide, 20 times larger than the average hurricane eye on Earth. Thin, bright clouds at the outer edge of […]

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