Daily Archives: April 5, 2015

Kepler Search for Exoplanets

The Kepler spacecraft entered its 4th observing campaign in February. There are nearly 16,000 target stars, which are being searched for exoplanets and other astrophysical phenomena. Included in the target are two open star clusters in the Taurus constellation. Onboard fuel is projected to last until December 2017. In its previous campaigns, the Kepler team […] Continue reading

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Saturn’s Titan doesn’t have it’s own magnetosphere!

So whilst finding out some information about Saturn’s orbiter Cassini, I came across this story: Cassini Catches Titan Naked in the Solar Wind.  We’ve been talking a lot about magnetospheres when we discuss the giant worlds so this whole thing is really interesting! The space probe Cassini was going by Titan in 2013 when a big […] Continue reading

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Ganymede’s Ocean Confirmed?

Recent observations of Ganymede by Hubble appear to suggest that it may truly have an ocean far beneath its crust. Aurorae on the planet, caused by Ganymede’s magnetic field (the only moon in the solar system to have one), and their behavior seem to be suggestive of this high possibility. Ganymede’s distance from Jupiter allows […] Continue reading

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Could our Solar System have once had Super Earths?

New research appears to suggest that the early solar system might have been home to several “Super Earths,” terrestrial planets which are between 1 to 10 times the mass of Earth. One of the lingering questions about the formation of the solar system involves exactly how is it that the terrestrial planets of our solar system are so […] Continue reading

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Colliding with Jupiter

The Shoemaker–Levy 9 collision with Jupiter was the first direct observation of an extraterrestrial collision of Solar System objects. Shoemaker–Levy 9 disintegrated in to 21 fragments during a close encounter with Jupiter in July 1992 and finally collided with Jupiter two years later in July 1994. The remarkable collision lasted a week and left large, … Continue reading Colliding with Jupiter Continue reading

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WASP-12b is an HUGE planet that orbits extremely closely to its star. Due to the close distance (at 1/44 the distance compared to the distance between Earth and the Sun), WASP-12b has a very low densities from the flux of energy from the star and is being distorted into an egg shape. The most interesting […] Continue reading

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Saturn 2.0

So all the planets know that Saturn’s rings give it a really over-inflated ego.  But now there’s good news!  Maybe it’ll quit bragging now that it looks like there’s another planet with a bigger ring system.  Scientists think they’ve found an extrasolar planet with an elaborate ring system, the first discovery of a planet with… Continue reading

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Krakatoa: Will It Erupt Again?

Krakatoa is one of the deadliest volcanoes in human history. The island of Krakatoa (Krakatau) is part of the Indonesian Island Arc. It’s a volcanic island that has undergone a dramatic eruption in 1883. In May 1883, sailors began noticing clouds of ash rising more than 6 miles above the volcano as shown on the […] Continue reading

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Ganymede’s Ocean

When we think of Earth we tend to associate it very strongly with water and life. It makes sense since water covers up 75% of Earth’s surface. Water in liquid form seems to be unique to our world … or does it? … As it turns out, Earth’s salty water oceans may not be the […] Continue reading

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The Cosmic Snowball

Halley’s Comet This video tells us about the history of Halley’s Comet, which turns out to have actually been documented in medieval history in previous passes by the sun.  Because of the rarity with which comets actually appear in our night sky, they used to be tied to ancient superstitions; for example, to the ancient Chinese they signaled a… Continue reading

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