Earth-like planets: Artist’s impression of how an infant Earth-like planet might look (ESO) Astronomy and Astrophysics 

Finding Earth-like Planets Just Got Easier

Finding Earth-like planets that may someday support life just got easier. Among the billions and billions of stars in the sky, astronomers look for young planets (so-called infant Earths) where life might develop. New research from Cornell University shows where, and when, infant Earths are most likely to be found. The research was supported by the university’s brand new Institute for Pale Blue Dots, to be inaugurated in May 2015, which is dedicated to the discovery of Earth-like planets. “The search for new, habitable worlds is one of the most…

Read More
Space Astronomy and Astrophysics 

Comet Flyby Affects Mars Atmosphere

A comet traveling from the most distant region of our solar system passed amazingly close to Mars on October 19, and three spacecraft were there to observe the effects. If you had been standing on Mars, you would have seen thousands of shooting stars, according to astronomers from the University of Colorado, Boulder. The comet came from the Oort Cloud and passed within about 87,000 miles (139,500 kilometers) of Mars. That’s less than half the distance between Earth and our moon and less than one-tenth the distance of any known…

Read More
Telescopes at the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii (Ethan Tweedie) Astronomy and Astrophysics 

Bizarre Object at the Center of Milky Way Galaxy

For years, astronomers have been puzzled by a bizarre, fuzzy-looking object in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. The object was suspected of being a hydrogen gas cloud headed toward our galaxy’s enormous black hole. However, it’s not a gas cloud. It’s something much more awesome. In astronomy circles, the mysterious object is known as G2. It is circling the black hole at the center of our galaxy like a rubber duck circling a bathtub drain. Astronomers have spent years trying to figure out what it is, and a…

Read More