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Extrasolar planets
#11
(09-23-2018, 12:02 AM)Kyng Wrote: And another one. The TESS telescope, launched in April this year, has already found its new exoplanet: 

https://www.iflscience.com/space/nasas-l...new-world/

It's expected to be the first of thousands!

That's so exciting! :O Can;t wait to see more about this.
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#12
And now, it looks like the first extrasolar moon may have been discovered: 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45707309

As you might expect from it being the first one, it's unusually large for a moon. It's about the size of Neptune, and it orbits a planet the size of Jupiter, but with 10 times the mass.
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#13
Here's an interesting one. Astronomers have, apparently, figured out a new way to locate exoplanets: 

https://www.livescience.com/63882-migrat...rings.html

Basically, they know exoplanets are formed from clouds of dust (as the planets in our Solar System were). However, they've found that the dust doesn't quite dissipate - and, any exoplanets that do form trace paths through it. Sometimes, they can see the paths - even if they can't see the exoplanets themselves. 

I wonder how many discoveries this will lead to?
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#14
That was a fascinating read! So cool. :O
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#15
Thanks :) !

Now, astronomers from Warsaw have found two rogue planets in the Milky Way: 
https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/...iscovered/

Of course, since they don't have a star to illuminate them, the scientists couldn't actually see these rogue planets. Instead, they used a technique called 'gravitational microlensing': they noticed that the light coming from other objects was distorted, and figured out that there must be rogue planets in the way. 

It's a very inefficient technique, though - so, for all we know, there could be many more rogue planets that we haven't yet spotted!
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#16
Apparently, one of our nearest exoplanets may be hospitable to primitive life: 

https://earthsky.org/space/barnard-star-...-life-heat

It's orbiting Barnard's Star, which is only 6 light years away from the Earth. We didn't even know that this exoplanet existed until November 2018 - and it wasn't considered likely to harbour life, because it has an estimated surface temperature of -170°C (which is -274ºF: not -254ºF, as incorrectly stated in the article :O !). However, it's theorised that it may have a hot iron/nickel core, which may help it to sustain higher temperatures (and hence, liquid water) in isolated pockets underneath the surface. Some simple life could theoretically live in these places.  

Of course, we're still a long, long way from finding any life there - but, considering how near it is to Earth, there probably will be interest in further investigations!
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#17
that would be neat to explore such a desolate planet, but there is a lot that could be done in the future.
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#18
Yeah, it would be. It might be nice to send a probe there or something like that - although, even a probe launched at the nearest stars wouldn't get there within our lifetime :( . If we launched a probe at it at one-tenth of the speed of light, then it would take 60 years to get there. (And most of our probes aren't launched at anything near one-tenth of the speed of light: a probe launched at that speed would get from Earth to Pluto in under three days!)
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