In 2013, the Kepler telescope had to stop planet hunting due to the failure of two reaction wheels. But that doesn’t mean the telescope is completely out of commission. In fact, using a new technique that takes advantage of the solar wind, the Kepler telescope just discovered its first planet, a planet that could be similar to Earth but over twice the size.
Finding water on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comes as no surprise. Comets have been known to carry large patches of ice on them. What does come as a surprise, however, is the general makeup of this water. It is a finding that turns previously held beliefs on their head.
Two years ago, NASA’s Curiosity rover landed in an area called the Gale Crater. They choose this location because it was deemed to be the best area to have once been able to support microbial life. In a teleconference this afternoon, NASA has announced that new scientific evidence supports the long-standing hypothesis that Gale Crater once held a large body of water, and quite possibly for millions of years.
One more first for the Rosetta mission… sounds of Philae landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
The SESAME-CASSE instrument sensors on the feet of the Philae lander recorded the sound at the moment of contact with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
The planet Uranus is usually relatively calm when compared to its other companion gas giants in our solar system. Up until recently if you aimed a telescope at the distant planet you would have just observed a bland and hazy blue-green looking body without a whole lot going on. However, lately several extremely bright and large storms have been erupting around the northern hemisphere, and 7 years later than its closest approach to the Sun when astronomers would expect any activity to occur. Some of theses features are now even bright enough to be visible to amateur astronomers with a telescope, and this unusual activity has now sparked great interest in the unusual planet. It is now an active topic of research to understand these new phenomena since these wild storms were first discovered by astronomer, Dr. Imke de Pater, of the University of California, Berkeley.
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European Space Agency – ESA
This unusual view takes a side-on look down the smaller lobe of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and onto the smoother terrain of the ‘neck’ region. In the background, cliffs of the comet’s large lobe rise from the shadows, adding to the dramatic feel to this image.
This single-frame NAVCAM image measures 1024 x 1024 pixels. It was captured from a distance of 9.8 km from the centre of the comet (7.8 km from the surface) at 22:04 GMT on 23 October 2014. At this distance, the image resolution is 83.5 cm/pixel and the size of the image is 855 x 855 m.
European Space Agency – ESA
Tomorrow, Nov. 12, may mark the first time humans have soft-landed on a comet. If this is successful it will be courtesy of The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft which is currently orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it speeds through space. Rosetta will release a lander, called Philae, down to the comet’s surface tomorrow while three different space-focused organizations host Rosetta webcasts for all to watch.
The Gaia Satellite was launched on December 19 of last year. It’s mission: to chart a 3D map of the Milky Way Galaxy by surveying more than 1 billion stars. Even though that’s just 1 percent of the stars in the galaxy, its goal is to make the largest, most precise map of where Earth dwells by observing the position of these stars 70 times over five years. Among other things, this could result in the discovery of up to 70,000 additional alien planets.
For the first time, scientists have discovered water on a planet that is smaller than Jupiter. This is an important discovery because, previous to this find, scientists were unable to see through the cloud layer of smaller, warm planets. With this recent discovery, scientists now have a better chance of discovering an Earth 2.0
If you think about it, it’s amazing enough that we reside in a solar system within a galaxy that is spinning around a black hole. The sheer enormity of this galaxy is astonishing on its own. But I bet there were some things about our galaxy that you didn’t know: How many possible intelligent alien civilizations could be out there? What is The Great Attractor? And how about that raspberry smelling gas cloud? Yes, there are some very curious details about our galaxy that not a lot of people know. So let’s get into the Ten Most Amazing Facts About The Milky Way Galaxy: