Distant object at edge of Solar System is an ancient relic from 4.5 billion years ago
It's a rather uninspiring object, with no moons, rings or dust clouds in orbit around it; nor is there any evidence of an atmosphere. But this distant space rock at the far edge of our Solar System is actually an ancient relic that's remained largely untouched – even by the heat of the Sun – since its formation roughly 4.5 billion years ago, a new study said. The unassuming, 20-mile-long object, which looks like a snowman that's been flattened like a pancake, is informally known as "Ultima Thule." Thus, it preserves clues about the early history of the Solar System.
NASA drops insane map of 4000 planets discovered outside our solar system # Nasa # Planets # discovered #latestnews Please Subscribe My Channel Thanks For
NASA 's Hubble and Spitzer discover 'Super Earth' planet in a distant solar system has a rich atmosphere and could unlock mystery of how planets are formed. Experts at the University of Montreal in Canada used a pair of NASA telescopes - Hubble and Spritzer - to conduct their study of a planet
NASA believes exoplanets like TRAPPIST-1f could have the right conditions for liquid water, meaning they could support life.
It seems insane now, but it wasn't long ago we had no hard evidence of planets existing outside our solar system. Known as "exoplanets", the first definitive discovery of one didn't come until 1992. For many years after that, a trickle of distant worlds were added to the known exoplanet catalog.
Only in the last decade, with the help of the recently retired Kepler Space Telescope, has the pace of discovery really increased exponentially. In June, the 4,000th exoplanet was confirmed.
NASA’s Kepler just spotted 18 new Earth-sized planets, but only one is worth dreaming about
NASA's Kepler Space Telescope may be dead, but that doesn't mean that the wealth of data it gathered doesn't still hold some untold surprises. A new research paper from scientists at the Max Planck Institute, Georg August University, and the Sonneberg Observatory is a great reminder of that, and it reveals the existence of 18 (!) completely new exoplanets that were previously unknown to astronomers.
Exploring Planets Outside the Solar System - In Search of Alien Planets in the Universe Documentary Space & The Universe HD 4 962 зрителя. What has NASA 's Juno discovered around Jupiter so far?
NASA just dropped an astonishingly elaborate map of more than 4,000 exoplanets known to exist outside our Solar System , which takes the form of a video that shows how many It’s an impressive visualization of the exponential rate at which we’re discovering outside worlds many light-years away.
Requiem for Kepler? NASA's pioneering planet-finder (pictures)
Since its 2009 launch, NASA's Kepler space telescope has chalked up an impressive list of firsts and logged a tidy tally of newly discovered exoplanets (planets outside our solar system): 132 confirmed, plus another 2,740 unconfirmed "candidates." Perhaps most impressive, the craft has helped make a household notion of the idea that there may in fact be oodles of Earth-like, potentially life-supporting planets tucked among the many stars of the Milky Way. With NASA announcing this week that an equipment malfunction might mean an end to Kepler's mission, we thought we'd pay homage to the craft and take a look back at its life and work. The image above is an artist's rendition of Kepler on the job, gazing intently into the cosmos. Click through the rest of the slideshow to refresh your memory of the mission, watch the craft come into being, and check out some of Kepler's mind-expanding, and imagination-fueling, discoveries.
NASA has described the Kepler mission as "a search for habitable planets," that is, Earth-size planets that orbit their star in the "habitable zone," a temperate realm hospitable to H20, and thus, possibly, to the carbon-based life we're familiar with. "The habitable zone is where we think water will be," Kepler principal investigator Bill Borucki has explained . "If you can find liquid water on the surface, we think we may very well find life there. So that zone is not too close to the star, because it's too hot and water boils, and not too far away where the water is condensed...a planet covered with glaciers. It's the Goldilocks zone -- not too hot, not too cold, just right for life." The planets also need to be Earth-size. If they're too small, they don't have enough gravity to hold air molecules and create a life-friendly atmosphere. If they're too big, they hold hydrogen and helium and turn into gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn. Here we see Borucki discussing the plans for the Kepler mission during a meeting at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., two years before the craft's launch. At that time he said, "We are trying to find man's place in the universe. The first step in doing that is finding Earth-like planets."
The way Kepler has discovered all those "new" planets and their characteristics is by staring at stars. When a planet orbits and passes in front of its star (in what's known as a "transit"), it naturally blocks some of the light being emitted by that star. The brightness of that star, then, drops. And, under certain conditions, Kepler's instruments can register that drop. As NASA puts it: "By measuring the depth of the dip in brightness and knowing the size of the star, scientists can determine the size or radius of the planet. The orbital period of the planet can be determined by measuring the elapsed time between transits. Once the orbital period is known, [Johannes] Kepler's Third Law of Planetary Motion can be applied to determine the average distance of the planet from its star." And this, along with the probable temperature of the star, can be used to determine the likely temperature on the planet. Earth-based instruments have used a similar technique -- involving a planet's gravitational pull on its star, as opposed to changes in the star's brightness -- to spot new planets. In fact, in 2010, astronomers working with a spectrometer and this " wobble method " at Hawaii's Keck Observatory announced they'd discovered the first real example of a potentially life-friendly exoplanet . But the brightness-based "transit method" of planet-finding provides information the wobble method doesn't -- perhaps most importantly, a planet's size. And Earthbound tools can't use the transit method; Earth's orbit and the changing night sky prevent constant monitoring of the same stars, and atmospheric conditions interfere. Since it sits comfortably out in space, Kepler avoids these issues (and it has special characteristics that a space telescope like Hubble doesn't). Its data can be combined with info gleaned by Earthbound and other instruments to create profiles of planets.
So what is Kepler? In simple terms, it's a giant light meter, made up of a telescope, a "camera," and various electronics, that stands on a spacecraft base while nestled in a wraparound solar array (which powers the setup). Here's a model of Kepler, from the 2007 SETI meeting mentioned in slide number two. Note the foil-wrapped light meter (or "photometer"), the putty-colored spacecraft base, and the wraparound solar array.
And here's a more detailed artist's rendering, sans foil. Note the two black, spool-like structures at the far left, sticking out of the side of the craft's base, below the solar array -- they look a bit like auto rims without tires. Those are two of the four "reaction wheels" on Kepler. In order for the craft to reliably establish the existence of a planet, it's had to track that potential planet's transit across a star several times, not just once. And that's meant Kepler has had to maintain a precise field of view over time. (It would, of course, take an Earth-size planet in an Earth-like position about a year to circle its star a single time.) The reaction wheels have been keeping Kepler focused on the stars it's been monitoring. At least, they had been doing that. Read on...
A closer look at two of Kepler's four reaction wheels, during the craft's assembly at Ball Aerospace & Technologies. The reaction wheels are, as NASA has said , "special electric motors mounted on the spacecraft that act like specialized gyroscopes. Changes in the motor spin rates result in changes in the spacecraft orientation in different directions without resorting to firing rockets or jets." The wheels were designed to keep Kepler's light meter constantly pointed at the same stars: "The motor spin rates are controlled electronically by computer and are essential for altering spacecraft orientation by very small amounts, as needed for keeping the Kepler telescope pointed precisely at its designated sky target area." They've also been rolling Kepler 90 degrees every three months to keep the solar panels pointed at the sun. However...
...it looks like one too many of the reaction wheels may be dead or dying. Kepler needs only three wheels in order to stay properly positioned, and NASA provided four just in case. But one failed earlier, so now we're down to two. Hence, Kepler's gaze is drifting. NASA isn't ready to call the mission over just yet; Earthbound technicians are trying to jump-start the misbehaving wheel (at 42.4 million miles from Earth, Kepler is too far away for a Hubble-like, astronaut repair job ). But in any case, the errant wheel lasted about eight and a half months beyond the originally planned three-and-a-half-year duration of the Kepler mission. So with its payload of other sophisticated equipment, Kepler has accomplished quite a lot.
Here's what is perhaps the centerpiece of Kepler's collection of gear: the focal plane assembly, also known as the biggest camera NASA has ever flown in space. The 21 purplish-blue squares you see here are each made up of two rectangular, 2,200x1,024-pixel "charged coupled devices," or CCDs, which have been measuring the light from Kepler's targeted stars. This camera, rated at a whopping 95 megapixels, hasn't been taking the sort of pictures you're used to, however. It's been collecting data on brightness and sending it to an onboard computer, which in turn has been beaming the data to Earth once a month. Remember that pattern of squares -- you'll see it again very soon.
Voila. This is the view that's been enjoyed by the focal plane assembly for more than four years now: "an expansive star-rich patch of sky in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra," as NASA describes it. The view encompasses more than 100,000 stars. Kepler was designed to observe so many because only a small percentage of the stars might actually show a planet's transit in front of them. That's because in order for a transit to be visible, a star's planetary system has to be perfectly aligned with our line of sight. Create a fist with one hand and call that a star. Then create a planet with the tip of your other index finger and orbit it around your fist at different distances and angles. You'll begin to understand the alignment issue. NASA says that "for Earth-size planets around sunlike stars, the chances of randomly oriented orbital planes being in the correct orientation for Kepler to see a transit is about 0.5 percent." Remember those low odds -- they'll be used to make a rather breathtaking point in an upcoming caption. (By the way, the detailed areas called out in this image show a cluster of stars, called NGC 6791, and a star with a known planet called TrES-2 [circled in blue].)
Here, we've zoomed out a little, to show the region of the Milky Way that's home to the Cygnus and Lyra constellations. Some of the stars Kepler has been staring at are as many as 3,000 light-years away.
Now let's take a very quick trip back through time to watch Kepler grow into a fully formed adult, ready to leave the nest. Here's the focal plane assembly that we saw earlier being prepared for mounting inside of Kepler's telescope.
And here, it's being guided into the telescope's lower housing.
This diagram shows the focal plane assembly's eventual placement inside the telescope, between the mirror, at the bottom, and the Schmidt corrector lens, which corrects for the mirror's curvature, at the top. The image of the stars is, of course, bounced off the superhigh-tech mirror onto the focal plane assembly and its equally high-tech CCDs. Together, all this gear forms Kepler's giant light meter, or photometer.
Here's the back side of the primary mirror assembly. The honeycomb structure keeps the mirror very light -- it's just one-seventh the weight of a solid mirror with the same thickness and diameter.
The lower housing is guided onto the primary mirror assembly. (You can see the head of one of the technicians reflected in the curved mirror.)
The assembled photometer. (That's some light meter, eh?)
And here's the gold-wrapped photometer being lowered onto its spacecraft base.
Last but not least, the solar array was added. (And the little white elves finally got to take a sandwich break.)
So what do you do with millions of dollars' worth of custom-built, highly sensitive instrumentation? You set it atop a huge amount of highly flammable liquid and light a match. On March 6, 2009, Kepler leaped toward the stars on top of a Delta II rocket, on the way to making its historic discoveries...
On January 4, 2010, NASA announced Kepler's first modest discovery: five exoplanets -- "hot jupiters," with high masses, extreme temperatures, and large sizes (from about the size of Neptune to larger than Jupiter -- both of which are far larger than the planet we call home). So, nothing habitable. But since then, the industrious floating photometer has gone on to discover more than one orb in the habitable zone, along with a few tantalizing space oddities. The beautiful blue-green ball you see here, in a NASA artist's rendition of course, is Kepler-22b, the first planet Kepler confirmed (on December 5, 2011) as orbiting in a star's habitable zone. The planet grabbed headlines as a potential doppelganger for Earth (despite it being two and a half times larger). But scientists aren't sure if it has a predominantly rocky, gaseous, or liquid composition. Still, Douglas Hudgins, Kepler program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said at the time of the discovery, "This is a major milestone on the road to finding Earth's twin." And it presumably made a lot of people sit up and pay attention.
About three months prior to the discovery of Kepler 22-b, NASA announced , on August 26, 2010, Kepler's discovery of the first confirmed planetary system with more than one planet crossing in front of the same star. Here, we see the star, Kepler-9, being circled by its two planets, Kepler-9b, on the right, and Kepler 9c. Both planets are close in size to Saturn. Another super-Earth-size planet was later spotted in the same system. And still later, on February 2, 2011, Kepler confirmed a system with six planets circling their star, Kepler-11. NASA has called this Kepler-11 system "the fullest, most compact planetary system yet discovered beyond our own."
One of the oddities spied by Kepler is this possible "evaporating planet," discovered on May 18, 2012. Analyzing data beamed back by Kepler, researchers identified a strange light pattern coming from a star called KIC 12557548. This led them, as NASA puts it , to: "hypothesize that the star-facing side of the potentially rocky inferno is an ocean of seething magma. The surface melts and evaporates at such high temperatures that the energy from the resulting wind is enough to allow dust and gas to escape into space. This dusty effluence trails behind the doomed companion as it disintegrates around the star." The doomed companion has not yet been confirmed as a planet, however.
NASA announced the discovery of this system, Kepler-47, on August 28, 2012. Here, we see it compared to part of our own solar system. There's an intriguing little detail in this diagram. Can you spot it? Read on...
If you spotted the Kepler-47 system's two suns, consider yourself an honorary member of Kepler's focal plane assembly. Kepler-47 was the first instance the space telescope found of multiple transiting planets orbiting a pair of stars. Earlier, on September 15, 2011, Kepler had spotted its first confirmed single planet orbiting two stars: Kepler-16b. And on January 11, 2012, it discovered two more double-sun planets: Kepler-34b and Kepler-35b. (We'll be quizzing you on these planet names, so we hope you're taking notes.) But if two stars aren't enough for you, how about four? On October 15, 2012, a joint effort between scientists and amateur astronomers with the Planet Hunters project tapped data from Kepler to discover PH1, the first known planet orbiting a double-star that itself is orbited by a distant pair of stars. But let's not get greedy. In the above image, we see Kepler-47c in the foreground and Kepler 47b in the distance, with their two suns glowing in the middle. The foreground planet is a gaseous giant, inhospitable to life, but just for the sake of discussion, let's ask the following question: If future generations of humans were to somehow colonize Kepler-47c, would they go for an evening stroll and see...
...this? And if they did, would they recall their history books -- er, data sets -- and fondly remember Kepler? (This, of course, is a memorable scene from 1977's "Star Wars," depicting Luke Skywalker on his home planet of Tatooine.)
Kepler 62f was one of the first exoplanets found by the space telescope beginning to approach the size of Earth. Four years later, it's still among the best candidates that could be a sister planet to our own.
And here's a size comparison of habitable-zone planets discovered by Kepler to date, alongside Earth. From left to right: Kepler-22b, Kepler-69c, Kepler-62e, Kepler-62f, and Earth. (They're all artist's renderings, except for Earth.)
And here's the Kepler-62 system alongside a part of our solar system. At a glance it looks pretty similar, doesn't it? (Of course, there are differences. For one thing, the Kepler-62 system's "sun" is two-thirds the size of our sun and only one-fifth as bright.) Clearly, Kepler has yet to find a dead ringer for Earth. Still, as John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, was quoted as saying, in the space agency's announcement about the Kepler 62 system: "The discovery of these rocky planets in the habitable zone brings us a bit closer to finding a place like home. It is only a matter of time before we know if the galaxy is home to a multitude of planets like Earth, or if we are a rarity." Unfortunately, unless NASA's technicians can get Kepler's troubled reaction wheel spinning again, time may have run out for Kepler itself. But check out the last two slides...
Remember this one? Let's zoom out again...
OK, here we've zoomed out a lot, to show the entire Milky Way, along with the area Kepler has been looking at and through. Remember that low probability we mentioned back at slide nine? Of Kepler spotting the transit of a planet across a given star? You'll recall that a transit can be seen only with the proper orientation of a planet's orbit to our line of sight, and that the probability of Kepler spying a transit among its 100,000 stars has been about 0.5 percent. NASA says that "statistically, we can infer that every planet Kepler detects represents hundreds more planets that are out there but not detectable due to inopportune orbital orientation." As mentioned before, Kepler has spotted 132 confirmed planets, plus 2,740 potential planets. And it's been looking at a relatively miniscule patch of the galaxy. How many hundreds, or thousands, or millions of Earth-like planets might there be? Or here's another way of thinking about it. Kepler has discovered a fascinating variety of planetary systems, which suggest further, perhaps infinite, varieties. Given those differences, how many solar systems exactly like ours, or even all that similar to ours, might there not be? This is perhaps Kepler's main achievement: the tweak it's given to our perception of the universe and, as principal investigator Borucki put it, our "place in it." Maybe life is far more abundant than we ever imagined, and thus, perhaps, that much more amazing. Or maybe it's rarer, more unique, than we might've thought -- and that much more precious.
That's a big leap in a single lifetime, and to mark just how far we've come in refining our view of the universe, NASA created the above video visualizing when and where in the night sky all the known exoplanets were discovered. Note how quickly the pace of the finds picks up once Kepler starts making its contribution in 2010.
NASA is going to fire an atomic clock into space so astronauts know where they’re going
As NASA and other organizations begin to lay the groundwork for crewed missions to places other than an orbiting space station or even the Moon.
map of 4,000 planets outside our solar system :O In just a few decades, we've gone from knowing of no planets Two Earth-like planets just discovered in the habitable zone near Teegarden's star, 12 The planets resemble the inner planets of our solar system , may have water, and are slightly
It seems insane now, but it was not long before we had no hard evidence of planets outside our solar system . Known as "exoplanets", the first definitive discovery of one This is a great leap in a single lifetime, and to mark just how far we have come to refine our view of the universe, NASA created the
Kepler went to sleep permanently in 2018, but its legacy has been picked up by other observatories like the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which has already found over 700 new planet candidates in its first year in space.
Next up, the European Characterizing Exoplanets Satellite (CHEOPS) is set to launch by the end of the year and NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is set to blast off in 2021. Both space telescopes will be able to do more than just spot exoplanets -- they could help determine if conditions exist to support life upon their surfaces.
Best places in space to search for alien life
The deeper we look into space, the more places we come across that seem like maybe, just maybe, could host life. From our neighboring planets to distant galaxies sending out weird signals, the list of spots in space worth checking out just continues to grow. The closest world we should check for signs of life is one we've already been to, or at least our robots have . There's increasing evidence that Mars was once a lot more like Earth , with oceans on its surface. Today it's more harsh, but it's not out of the question that we could find some sort of microbes in Martian soil.
Dwarf planet Ceres in the asteroid belt is full of surprises. It started with those big bright spots that turned out to be salt deposits, and there's also a huge, strange pyramid-shaped mountain , plenty of water beneath the surface and even the building blocks of life . Some people already believe this huge rock is actually an alien ship. The evidence isn't there to support that theory, but the place does seem worth a closer look.
We don't think of the largest gas giant planet around as a place to look for life, but science fiction author Ben Bova has other ideas. "It's got all the ingredients, enough room and lots of energy," he said in 2016 . Bova briefly explained his notion of life-forms that might be able to live in the air or in water underneath Jupiter's dense deck of clouds. He referred me to a few of the novels from his "Grand Tour" series , including " Jupiter " and " Leviathans of Jupiter ." The storyline of the novels revolves around the existence of massive, city-size life-forms called Leviathans living in gigantic oceans that have condensed beneath the clouds of Jupiter. Um, sure. Why not?
Saturn's satellite Titan is the rare moon in our solar system with an atmosphere, weather, seas and rivers. It sure looks like home, except it's freezing and the lakes are flammable. Whatever life could survive there would be awfully weird, but scientists would still love to send a submarine to see for themselves.
Like Europa, Saturnian moon Enceladus has an icy shell with plumes shooting into space. In 2015, the Cassini spacecraft actually flew through one of the plumes and found large amounts of hydrogen present in its hidden ocean. This suggests the watery world has just about all the ingredients required to support life.
Jupiter moon Europa not only hides a subsurface ocean beneath its icy shell, but geysers have also been spotted there , hinting that some sort of hydrothermal activity might be able to support marine life.
Jupiter's moon Callisto is another world that harbors an unseen ocean. Checking it for microbes or any other exotic life forms might be tough, though, because it would require drilling through its huge, rocky exterior.
Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon, has long been suspected of harboring a subsurface ocean. In 2015, scientists said they could confirm a salty ocean beneath its frozen crust . It also has a thin oxygen atmosphere, adding to its intrigue.
Yes our nearest planetary neighbor is supposed to be a horrible, hot and toxic hellscape, but that's just below the clouds. Higher in the atmosphere it could be quite nice . The planet wasn't always so inhospitable , so perhaps something managed to adapt? Scary to imagine what might have managed that, but you know you want to see it.
This former planet is very cold, but it's also more interesting than we used to think , with hints of active geology, lots of ice and perhaps some hidden oceans of its own. Definitely worth adding to the life-prospecting itinerary.
A potentially habitable planet around the nearest star to the sun, Proxima b is a no-brainer for closer examination. In fact, some told stories about alien civilizations there before the planet was even discovered. Plans are already underway to send tiny craft there to see if anyone is about.
The TRAPPIST-1 system is just 40 light-years away and hosts up to seven Earth-sized planets, all very close to each other and perfect for the space-faring civilization of our sci-fi dreams.
Wolf 1061 c is a "super-Earth" just 14 light-years away, making it one of the top five closest potentially habitable planets orbiting another star. We've known about it for a few years, and scientists have already started checking it for alien transmissions .
Mysterious signals known as "fast radio bursts" have baffled astronomers for a decade. The only such signal that repeats has been traced to a tiny galaxy in this image in the constellation Auriga. Is it E.T. phoning home?
Something weird is going on around the distant star KIC 8462852, also known as Boyajian's Star . After a few years of research, no one knows for sure what's happening, but one explanation that's yet to be completely ruled out is the far-out notion that a highly advanced society is building insanely huge megastructures in space that obstruct the star. Gulp.
Kepler 186f was one of the first confirmed Earth-like, potentially habitable exoplanets. But at 500 light years away, it no longer receives quite as much attention as targets closer to home.
Kepler-283c was discovered as part of a huge data dump from Kepler that included over 700 newly confirmed exoplanets. It is about twice the size of Earth and orbits much closer to its home star, which is 1,743 light years from Earth.
Some of the strangest exoplanets can be found in the habitable zone of Gliese 667C , which is one of three suns in the triple-star Gliese 667 system. This probably makes for some interesting skyscapes from planets Gliese-667Ce and Gliese-667Cf, the two most likely planets in the system to harbor water (a third planet nearby is also in the habitable zone, but with slightly less favorable conditions for life.)
HD 40307g is another nearby super-Earth only 42 light years away that will be a top target for the next generation of telescopes.
Kepler 62f was one of the first exoplanets found by the space telescope beginning to approach the size of Earth. Four years later, it's still among the best candidates that could be a sister planet to our own.
Gliese 832c is a super-Earth just 16 light years away that could be potentially habitable but probably has some pretty extreme seasons. Perhaps we'll one day find it to be the true home of Westeros ?
Gliese 581d is a potentially habitable planet just 20 light-years away. In 20 years we could probably know if it delivers on that potential.
The exoplanet LHS 1140b , which orbits a red dwarf star 40 light-years from Earth and may be the new holder of the title "best place to look for signs of life beyond the solar system." This world is a little larger and much more massive than the Earth and has likely retained most of its atmosphere.
A very strange signal reportedly came from the direction of the star HD 164595 in the constellation Hercules, which has at least one confirmed planet, a Neptune-size world in close orbit that would seem unlikely to support life as we know it. Then again, there could be other planets there we haven't seen yet...
There's a number of other potentially habitable exoplanets out there that kind of blend together, most of them discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope. To keep from getting monotonous, we're not listing them all, but the Planetary Habitability Lab does here .
When some of us think of life on distant exoplanets, it's hard not to picture dusk on the home world of one young Luke Skywalker. Recently scientists have considered how real planets in binary star systems, just like Tatooine of "Star Wars" fame , might be able to support life. Their results were promising, partially validating a primary reason that at least one space nut hopes we continue looking everywhere for life: the hope that Yoda really is still out there somewhere.
Three Rocky Exoplanets Have Been Found Orbiting a Star Just 12 Light-Years Away.
Three new exoplanets have been found orbiting a nearby star, and one of them is ranked pretty highly for potential habitability. All three are rocky, and within the vicinity of Earth-sized - and the outermost is orbiting the star in the habitable zone, where temperatures are compatible with the possibility of liquid water on the surface. The star is Gliese 1061, at a distance of 3.67 parsecs - around 12 light-years away - making it the 20th closest star to the Solar System. And its three planets are Gliese 1016 b, Gliese 1016 c and Gliese 1016 d.