Clarksville, TN Online: News, Opinion, Arts & Entertainment.


Topic: Worlds

NASA’s Kepler and Spitzer Space Telescopes’ data used to measure Exoplanet with amazing accuracy

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Barely 30 years ago, the only planets astronomers had found were located right here in our own solar system. The Milky Way is chock-full of stars, millions of them similar to our own sun. Yet the tally of known worlds in other star systems was exactly zero.

What a difference a few decades can make.

As 2014 unfolds, astronomers have not only found more than a thousand “exoplanets” circling distant suns, but also they’re beginning to make precise measurements of them.

YouTube Preview Image «Read the rest of this article»

Sections: Technology | No Comments
 

Herschel Space Telescope finds aging Star may still be forming Planets

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A star thought to have passed the age at which it can form planets may, in fact, be creating new worlds. The disk of material surrounding the surprising star called TW Hydrae may be massive enough to make even more planets than we have in our own solar system.

The findings were made using the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Telescope, a mission in which NASA is a participant.

At roughly 10 million years old and 176 light years away, TW Hydrae is relatively close to Earth by astronomical standards. Its planet-forming disk has been well studied. TW Hydrae is relatively young but, in theory, it is past the age at which giant planets already may have formed.

This artist's concept illustrates the planet-forming disk around TW Hydrae, located about 175 light-years away in the Hydra, or Sea Serpent, constellation. In 2011, astronomers used the Herschel space observatory to detect copious amounts of cool water vapor, illustrated in blue, emanating from the star's planet-forming disk of dust and gas. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept illustrates the planet-forming disk around TW Hydrae, located about 175 light-years away in the Hydra, or Sea Serpent, constellation. In 2011, astronomers used the Herschel space observatory to detect copious amounts of cool water vapor, illustrated in blue, emanating from the star’s planet-forming disk of dust and gas. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

«Read the rest of this article»

Sections: Technology | No Comments
 

NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes reveal Brown Dwarf’s Stormy Weather

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Astronomers using NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes have probed the stormy atmosphere of a brown dwarf, creating the most detailed “weather map” yet for this class of cool, star-like orbs. The forecast shows wind-driven, planet-sized clouds enshrouding these strange worlds.

Brown dwarfs form out of condensing gas, as stars do, but lack the mass to fuse hydrogen atoms and produce energy. Instead, these objects, which some call failed stars, are more similar to gas planets with their complex, varied atmospheres.

This artist's illustration shows the atmosphere of a brown dwarf called 2MASSJ22282889-431026, which was observed simultaneously by NASA's Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes. The results were unexpected, revealing offset layers of material as indicated in the diagram. For example, the large, bright patch in the outer layer has shifted to the right in the inner layer. The observations indicate this brown dwarf -- a ball of gas that "failed" to become a star -- is marked by wind-driven, planet-size clouds. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s illustration shows the atmosphere of a brown dwarf called 2MASSJ22282889-431026, which was observed simultaneously by NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes. The results were unexpected, revealing offset layers of material as indicated in the diagram. For example, the large, bright patch in the outer layer has shifted to the right in the inner layer. The observations indicate this brown dwarf — a ball of gas that “failed” to become a star — is marked by wind-driven, planet-size clouds. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

«Read the rest of this article»

Sections: Technology | No Comments
 


NASA’s Kepler space telescope helps astronomers determine that our Galaxy has Billions of Planets

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Look up at the night sky and you’ll see stars, sure. But the sky is also filled with planets — billions and billions of them at least.

That’s the conclusion of a new study by astronomers at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, which provides yet more evidence that planetary systems are the cosmic norm. The team made their estimate while analyzing planets orbiting a star called Kepler-32 — planets that are representative, they say, of the vast majority of planets in our galaxy and thus serve as a perfect case study for understanding how most of these worlds form.

An assortment of planets beyond our solar system is depicted in this artist's concept. (Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)

An assortment of planets beyond our solar system is depicted in this artist’s concept. (Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)

«Read the rest of this article»

Sections: Technology | No Comments
 

NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) finds fewer Brown Dwarfs than Predicted Close to Home

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Astronomers are getting to know the neighbors better. Our sun resides within a spiral arm of our Milky Way galaxy about two-thirds of the way out from the center. It lives in a fairly calm, suburb-like area with an average number of stellar residents.

Recently, NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has been turning up a new crowd of stars close to home: the coldest of the brown dwarf family of “failed” stars.

Now, just as scientists are “meeting and greeting” the new neighbors, WISE has a surprise in store: there are far fewer brown dwarfs around us than predicted.

This image shows our own back yard, astronomically speaking, from a vantage point about 30 light-years away from the sun. It highlights the population of tiny brown dwarfs recently discovered by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE (red circles). The image simulates actual positions of stars. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image shows our own back yard, astronomically speaking, from a vantage point about 30 light-years away from the sun. It highlights the population of tiny brown dwarfs recently discovered by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE (red circles). The image simulates actual positions of stars. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

«Read the rest of this article»

Sections: Technology | No Comments
 



Personal Controls

Archives

    October 2014
    S M T W T F S
    « Sep    
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    262728293031