Search results for "exoplanet"

Panoramic photograph of night sky above ESO's VLT during lunar eclipse

“Currently the number of exoplanets stands at close to 600…”

[Image credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser].  As the BBC reported, astronomers using the HARPS spectrograph on the 3.6-metre telescope at the European Southern Observatory [ESO]’s La Silla Observatory in Chile recently announced the discovery of more than 50 new exoplanets orbiting nearby stars, including sixteen super-Earths.  It’s the subject of ESOcast 35: 50 New Exoplanets. From the ESO science more…

Gliese 581g

Searching for exoplanets

With the BBC noting a somewhat speculative report on a newly discovered exoplanet, Wasp 12b, here’s a short informative video from ESA Euronews on the ongoing search for planets beyond our solar system. And here are some previous posts on the topic.

Solar Eclipse Belfast UK 2015 Mar 20

Stargazing the 20 March 2015 Solar Eclipse

The BBC’s Stargazing Live returns tonight, 8pm BBC 2, with three consecutive nights of live programmes to coincide with the total solar eclipse on Friday 20 March 2015.  [It is an annual series! – Ed].  Stargazing Live is, yes.  Not necessarily total solar eclipses, though.  And this solar eclipse is the only one, total or otherwise, to be more…

Panoramic photograph of night sky above ESO's VLT during lunar eclipse

“damn, what a sky…” – redux

[Image credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky]  Another stunning time-lapse video of the wondrous night sky above the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope [VLT] array on top of Cerro Paranal in Chile’s Atacama Desert.  This time presented as ESO Cast 50: Chile Chill 1.  [Marvel at the solar system in motion… – Ed]  Or, indeed, the galaxy.  Stay with it past more…

Transit of Venus 2012: “marvel at the solar system in motion”

As I mentioned back in March, tonight one of the rarest predictable astronomical events will occur – a transit of Venus.  [I’m washing my hair! – Ed]  What hair?  ANYhoo… Since the invention of the greatest human innovation, the telescope, at the beginning of the 17th century, not by Galileo, there have been only 7 such more…

Galactic plane with close-up on centre

“A billion stars revealed”

A stunning image was unveiled last week at the UK-Germany National Astronomy Meeting NAM2012 in Manchester. [All images courtesy of Mike Read (WFAU), UKIDSS/GPS and VVV] The BBC’s Spaceman, Jonathan Amos, helpfully provides this combination image, with a partial zoom-in on the Galactic center. But to really appreciate the scale and detail of the image you more…

“…and marvel at the solar system in motion”

Here’s a date to mark in your diary [really? – Ed].  On the 5/6 June this year one of the rarest predictable astronomical events will occur – a transit of Venus.  [Can’t wait… – Ed]  Since the invention of the greatest human innovation, the telescope, at the beginning of the 17th century, not by Galileo, more…

Panoramic photograph of night sky above ESO's VLT during lunar eclipse

Stargazing, and [exo]planet hunting…

The last three nights saw the return to BBC2 of popular astronomy show Stargazing Live – presented by Brian Cox and Dara O’Briain.  Hopefully it will become, at least, an annual fixture. [Image credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky] The three hour-long programmes are still available, for now, on the iPlayer.  The entertaining ‘after-show’ shows, Back to Earth, appears to more…

Kepler22bDiagram_1024-768

Kepler-22b: “This is a major milestone on the road to finding Earth’s twin”

By the time its last catalogue of exoplanet candidates was released in February,  Nasa’s Kepler space observatory, launched in March 2009, first light in April 2009, had identified 1,235 planetary candidates – and 54 candidates within the habitable zone. The Kepler team have now identified 2,326 planet candidates – of those, 207 are approximately Earth-size, 680 are super Earth-size, more…

Pale Blue Dot

“Look again at that dot.”

As Curiosity heads to Mars, and Voyager continues to go boldly further than ever, the BBC reports on some speculative assessments of potentially habitable locations elsewhere in the galaxy.  A timely reminder, then, from the Guardian’s GrrlScientist of our pale blue dot in this short video tribute to Carl Sagan. Carl Sagan (1934-1996), Pale Blue Dot: more…

Dawn_Vesta_south_pole

Of proto- [and exo-] planets. And falling satellites…

Nasa’s Dawn spacecraft remains in orbit around the 530km-wide proto-planet Vesta – the second most massive object in the main asteroid belt.  And they’ve released this cool video constructed from the images they’ve obtained so far. Via JPLnews Here’s an image of the south pole of Vesta from a distance of about 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers). [Image credit: more…

Gliese 581g

“It’s in the ‘sweet spot’, the Goldilocks Zone…”

If no-one picks up the phone at Gliese 581d, perhaps someone will be at home on the newly discovered Gliese 581g…  aka the “Goldilocks” planet.  Or, indeed, one of the other exo-planets in the, apparently, increasingly populated Gliese 581 system.  But I tend to agree with the quotes in the level-headed Tom Chivers blog at the Daily Telegraph more…

eso1024a

More telescopes…

As the BBC notes, for the first time astronomers have directly observed the orbit of an exo-planet – Beta Pictoris b, a gas giant about nine times the mass of Jupiter, some 60 light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Pictar.  The team used the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. [Image credit: more…

“an unprecedented achievement from an Earth-based observatory”

Nasa are celebrating the apparently successful demonstration of a new technique used, with Nasa’s relatively modest 30-year-old, 3-meter-diameter, Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii, to identify water, carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere of exo-planet HD 189733b – a Jupiter-size planet nearly 63 light-years away. Here’s a NASA/JPL-Caltech graphical explanation. And the BBC report. Nature more…

“txt me to ur leader!”

Well, it’s too late now. For good or ill, the Hello from Earth project has broadcast 25,880 “goodwill messages” to an exo-planet 20.3 light years away. And they did pick the better candidate, Gliese 581d, not 581b as I had initially thought. Oh, and messages were moderated. Even so, a suitably sceptical reader of the more…

“We certainly won’t find ET but we might find ET’s home..”

After previous launch problems there were undoubtedly sighs of relief at NASA this morning when the Kepler mission – a search for habitable planets – got off the ground and safely entered its sun-centred orbit, trailing 950 miles behind Earth. And, via the Professor, here’s CosmicBlog’s Alan Boyle on the search for exo-planets. And a more…

Artist

“The ‘holy grail’ for today’s planet hunters..”

[Artist’s view of exoplanet orbiting the star HD 189733. Image credit: ESA, NASA, M. Kornmesser (ESA/Hubble), and STScl.] It’s more than likely too close to its star, and far too hot, to sustain life but the Jupiter-sized exo-planet HD 189733b is proving to be an intriguing study – and, at 63 light-years away, over twice more…

Hubble image of Fomalhaut b

“follow the dust..”

This stunning image shows the first ever visible light observation of an exo-planet, Fomalhaut b – larger captioned image here. As the NASA report details, Fomalhaut, located 25 light-years away in the constellation Piscis Australis, has been a candidate for planet hunters since the early 1980s, and in 2004 the High Resolution Camera on Hubble’s more…

where there's liquid water..

where there’s liquid water..

More science news.. [*ahem* – Ed] Whilst some people have leapt to a somewhat dubious conclusion, it is a remarkable achievement by the astronomers using the ESO 3.6m telescope in Chile to identify the effects of the smallest exo-planetary mass yet detected, only 5 times the mass of the Earth and approximately 50% larger in more…