Posts tagged stars
Stars like the sun eventually run out of hydrogen fuel and puff-up into red giants at the end of their lives — a precursor to a suicidal shedding of gas, decimating any nearby planets, eventually leaving a tiny white dwarf remnant. But a nearby star, located around 100 light-years away, has been spotted in the brief stage before the red giant phase of its death throes — and it has a dusty disk usually exclusive to young stars.
The American Astronomical Society (AAS) conference is in full swing in Long Beach, Calif., and this morning’s sessions can be summarized as follows: There’s more exoplanets than you can shake an exostick at.
Earth-Sized Alien Worlds Orbit One in Six Stars: About 17 percent — one in six — of Kepler’s target stars have Earth-sized worlds orbiting closer to their parent stars than where Mercury orbits the sun.
The planet of interest is estimated to be about 4.3 times more massive than Earth. If confirmed, the planet would be the smallest yet discovered in a star’s habitable zone, say scientists who will be publishing their research in an upcoming issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Now THAT is pretty significant. Read more
Astronomers have cataloged 84 million stars at the heart of the Milky Way galaxy using an enormous cosmic photo snapped by a telescope in Chile, a view that is billed as the largest survey ever of the stars in our galaxy’s core.
The staggering 9-gigapixel picture was created with data gathered by the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA), an instrument at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile. The zoomable image is so large that it would measure 30 feet long by 23 feet tall (9 by 7 meters) if printed with the resolution of a typical book, researchers said.
The huge new picture probes the Milky Way’s central bulge, a concentration of ancient stars found near the core of most spiral galaxies. Getting good looks at this region is not an easy task.
“Observations of the bulge of the Milky Way are very hard because it is obscured by dust,” said co-author Dante Minniti, also of Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. “To peer into the heart of the galaxy, we need to observe in infrared light, which is less affected by the dust.”
It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?…
I’ve always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.
I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.
Scientists have found an Earth-sized planet circling a neighbor star just 4 light-years away.
No need to brush up on extraterrestrial etiquette quite yet, however. The planet, which flies around its parent star 10 times closer than Mercury orbits the sun, probably is inhospitable for life since its temperature would be more than 2,240 degrees Fahrenheit — far too hot for liquid water to exist on the surface. Water is believed to be necessary for life.
But the newly found planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B, a sun-like star roughly 25 trillion miles away, could have better-positioned siblings.
So far, scientists have only ruled out the possibility of massive planets with orbital periods of 200 days or less around Alpha Centauri B, so that leaves plenty of room for the detection of low-mass planets in the star’s so-called “habitable zone” — the distance where water can exist on a planet’s surface.
The life cycle of a moth or butterfly are fairly commonly known, but the life cycle of a star… probably not…
In some photographs the sun can appear to be a boiling mass of twisted, writhing filaments and “furry” spicules, with prominences leaping in towers and arcs along its limb.
In other photos it can appear as a serene, featureless sphere with a subtle granular texture broken only by the occasional smudge of a sunspot.
Both, of course, are the same star, it all just depends on how you look at it — or, more specifically, in what light you look at it.
Dark skies are often difficult to come by, especially if you, like the majority of the world’s population, live near a sprawling metropolis. The increasingly acute scourge of light pollution is a pressing issue not only for amateur and professional astronomers, but for anyone who wants to look up on a cloudless night.
But deep inside Yosemite National Park, astronomers flock with their increasingly sophisticated array of astronomical equipment to stare deep into space and bathe in the starry spectacle above them.