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sPACE: White Dwarfs Wear Crushed Corpses of Planets in Their Atmospheres

white dwarf

Astronomers are looking for the bones of dead planets inside the corpses of dead stars — and they may have just found some. In a paper published Feb. 11 in the journal Nature Astronomy, a team of researchers described how they used data from the Gaia space satellite to peer into the atmospheres of four white dwarfs — the shriveled, crystalline husks of once-massive stars that burned through all their fuel. Swirling among the hot soup of hydrogen and helium surrounding those stars, the team detected clear traces of lithium, sodium and potassium — metals that are abundant in planetary … Read more

Where Might There Be Life in the Solar System?

Titan flyover - NASA

The Earth’s biosphere contains all the known ingredients necessary for life as we know it. Broadly speaking these are: liquid water, at least one source of energy, and an inventory of biologically useful elements and molecules. But the recent discovery of possibly biogenic phosphine in the clouds of Venus reminds us that at least some of these ingredients exist elsewhere in the solar system too. So where are the other most promising locations for extraterrestrial life? Titan Titan is the largest moon of Saturn and the only moon in the solar system with a substantial atmosphere. It contains a thick … Read more

SPACE: Multiplanet System Around Sunlike Star Photographed For First Time

multiplanet system - ESO

For the first time ever, astronomers have directly imaged multiple planets orbiting a sunlike star. The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile photographed two giant planets circling TYC 8998-760-1, a very young analogue of our own sun that lies about 300 light-years from Earth, a new study reports. “This discovery is a snapshot of an environment that is very similar to our solar system, but at a much earlier stage of its evolution,” study lead author Alexander Bohn, a doctoral student at Leiden University in the Netherlands, said in a statement. Before this historic cosmic portrait, only … Read more

FOR WRITERS: A Paucity of Earths

FOR WRITERS Today’s writer topic comes from QSFer Jim Comer: Earthlike worlds are in a distinct minority in our galaxy. Space travel is likelier to take us to worlds where we’ll live in tunnels and caves. Who has used this in their fiction? Who’s assumed it as a norm? How is life different? Writers: This is a writer chat – you are welcome to share your own book/link, as long as it fits the chat, but please do so as part of a discussion about the topic. Join the chat: FB: MeWe:

SPACE: Planets Come in Two Flavors

Scientists have discovered over 4,000 exoplanets outside of our Solar System, according to NASA’s Exoplanet Archive. Some of these planets orbit multiple stars at the same time. Certain planets are so close to their star that it takes only a handful of days to make one revolution, compared to the Earth which takes 365.25 days. Others slingshot around their star with extremely oblong orbits, unlike the Earth’s circular one. When it comes to how exoplanets behave and where they exist, there are many possibilities. And yet, when it comes to sizes of planets, specifically their mass and radius, there are … Read more

1 In 3 Americans Would Move To An Alien Planet To Escape U.S. Politics

7 Planets

If it meant escaping the current political atmosphere, nearly 1 in 3 Americans say they’d be willing to leave Earth altogether. That’s according to a SurveyMonkey poll conducted Thursday, which found that 29 percent of U.S. adults would consider temporarily moving to one of the newly discovered Earth-like planets to avoid the next four years under President Donald Trump. The journey wouldn’t be easy. Those seven planets are orbiting a dwarf star some 39 light-years — or 230 trillion miles — away. But whatever it takes, right? By Chris D’Angelo – Full Story at The Huffington Post