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Galaxy Quest: Just How Many Earth-Like Planets Are Out There?

Galaxy Quest: Just How Many Earth-Like Planets Are Out There?

November 5, 2013

A team of planet hunters estimates that about 22 percent of the Sun-like stars in our galaxy may have planets about the size of Earth that are bathed in similar amounts of sunlight — and potentially habitable. That's the conclusion of a new analysis by Erik Petigura, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley of observations taken by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, which was launched in 2009 to hunt for potentially habitable Earth-like planets around other stars.... Read more about Galaxy Quest: Just How Many Earth-Like Planets Are Out There?

Astronomers Find Earthlike Planet, but It’s Infernally Hot

Astronomers Find Earthlike Planet, but It’s Infernally Hot

October 31, 2013

"Kepler 78b, a planet some 400 light-years away, is like hell on earth. Astronomers described it on Wednesday as the first Earth-size planet that seems to be made of the same mixture of rock and iron as Earth, and that orbits a star similar to our sun. At that close proximity, the surface of Kepler 78b is infernally hot: 3,500 to 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, or ... “Exoplanets are just surprising us with their diversity,” said Dimitar D. Sasselov, a professor of astronomy at Harvard and a member of Dr. Pepe’s team, using the name for planets outside our solar...

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Time Magazine names two Astronomy faculty and two alumni amongst 25 most influential space scientists

Time Magazine names two Astronomy faculty and two alumni amongst 25 most influential space scientists

September 25, 2013

Referring to them as "an array of the most brilliant," David Bjerklie and the editors of Time Magazine in a photo-centric supplement entitled The 25 Most Influential People in Space named Avi Loeb, Dave Charbonneau, Adam Reiss and Sara Seager for their contributions to astronomical research. 

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Life’s Beginnings studying how life bloomed on Earth—and might emerge elsewhere

Life’s Beginnings studying how life bloomed on Earth—and might emerge elsewhere

August 20, 2013
Are the inhabitants of Earth the only life forms in the universe, or could life exist elsewhere? As astronomers rapidly identify exoplanets—those beyond our solar system—the question has been transformed from a science-fiction trope to one discussed in scientific journals and conferences according to Professor of Astronomy, Dimitar Sasselov.
Gamma-ray burst illuminates invisible galaxy in the "dark ages"

Gamma-ray burst illuminates invisible galaxy in the "dark ages"

August 7, 2013

More than 12 billion years ago a star exploded, ripping itself apart and blasting its remains outward in twin jets at nearly the speed of light. At its death it glowed so brightly that it outshone its entire galaxy by a million times.  Associate Professor Edo Berger and Ryan Chornock, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, were able to gear up quickly to collect data on it's afterglow just hours after it was detected by NASA's Swift spacecraft on June 6th.

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Exoplanet discovered with new technique that uses Einstein's relativity

May 14, 2013


Artist's conception of Kepler-76b,
orbiting its elongated star
David A. Aguilar (CfA)

A new method for detecting planet that Loeb & Gaudi proposed in 2003 was demonstrated to work and a new planet, Kepler 76b, was discovered with it.

Read More:

Wired UK: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-05/14/planet-discovery-method

CFA Press Release: http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/2013/pr201312.html

Tel Aviv University: http://english.tau.ac.il/news/discovering_new_planet

Harvard Gazette: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2013/05/building-on-einstein/

Time Magazine: http://science.time.com/2013/06/04/albert-einstein-discovers-new-planet-really/

Water worlds surface Planets covered by global ocean with no land in sight

April 25, 2013


Illustration courtesy of CfA

Astronomers have found a planetary system orbiting the star Kepler-62. This five-planet system has two worlds in the habitable zone — the distance from their star at which they receive enough light and warmth for liquid water to theoretically exist on their surfaces.

Harvard Gazette

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