Three Super-Earths discovered orbiting a Sun-like star 42 light-years away

The part of the sky being studied contains 45 potential planets that are smaller than 30 times the mass of Earth, the astronomers said. Most of them orbit HD 40307 quickly—every 50 days or less.

“We are convinced that there are plenty of planets everywhere,” said Didier Queloz, a member of the research team from the Observatoire de Genève in Switzerland.

The discovery is creating a buzz throughout the astronomy community.

David Charbonneau, an exoplanet expert from Harvard University who was not involved with the new find, said it heralds a new age: “We have entered the Epoch of the Super-Earths,” he said.

Planet X – Is there another hidden planet in our solar system?

Could it be that there is another massive planet orbiting the Sun, way out there, which has swept up the objects gravitationally, creating the Kuiper Cliff and tossing the iceballs into tilted, oval orbits?

A newly released paper shows that may very well be the case. A team of scientists ran a whole mess of simulations, and found that a small planet (in this case, around half the size of the Earth) could have formed inside Neptune’s orbit (where there was plenty of material in the early solar system), gotten tossed into a bigger orbit by Neptune, and then knocked around the orbits of the iceballs, distorting their orbits and creating the Kuiper Cliff.

Did Earth once have multiple moons?

The ancient catastrophe that gave birth to the Moon may have produced additional satellites that lingered in Earth’s skies for tens of millions of years.

A new model suggests moonlets may have once occupied the two Earth-Moon Lagrangian points, regions in space where the gravitational tug of the Earth and the Moon exactly cancel each other out. Objects trapped in these points are called Trojans and can remain stationary forever if left undisturbed.

Top Five Potentially Life-Supporting Stars Announced

Margaret Turnbull, of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C., recently released her list of top five potential habstars in our galaxy, three of which can be seen from Earth with the naked eye.

Japanese Astronomers Search for Alien Civilizations

The project, led by Japanese astronomers, will bring together a dozen or more observatories from all over the country to study one star that researchers see as a potential home to an extraterrestrial civilization.

“Everyone wonders at least once in their lifetime whether space is infinite and whether aliens really do exist,” said Shinya Narusawa, chief researcher at Nishi-Harima Astronomical Observatory in western Japan.

We can grow Moon Flowers

The first lunar colonists will grow their own vegetables directly in the soil of the moon, while Earthbound romantics will order moonroses for their sweethearts. Researchers now claim that instead of carting tons of Earth soil to the moon for agriculture, moonfarms will use the dirt, rock and dust already present. The secret to growing plants on the seemingly infertile lunar surface? Just add bacteria.

Alien plants of many colors

The first extraterrestrial life we spot will probably be plant life, but what will it look like? There’s a good chance it will be blue, purple, red or even black. A team of scientists examined what makes Earth plants green, then modeled the evolution of plants on worlds with different kinds of stars or atmospheres. The answers they came up with could help astronomers detect planets beyond our solar system with flora.

Would an anti-matter apple fall up?

New experiments are being proposed to test a big unknown in physics: how antimatter reacts to gravity.

Physicists have studied antimatter, the mirror version of ordinary matter, for decades. They know, for example, that antiparticles have the same mass as ordinary particles, but opposite charge. But no one knows what effect gravity will have on such particles.

Now several groups want to measure exactly how the Earth will pull on antimatter. The tests would create a horizontal beam of the stuff and measure how much gravity deflects it.

Our universe was born from another universe

Today we learned that our universe may well have “bubbled off” from a previous one. That, in fact, our universe may well be nothing but one of a chain of entire serial realities. Or, perhaps, universes cluster like frogspawn in the pondwater of some unimaginable hyperreal superfluid:

“Their model suggests that new universes could be created spontaneously from apparently empty space. From inside the parent universe, the event would be surprisingly unspectacular…’a universe could form inside this room and we’d never know’.”

This apparently has a further implication: that the Big Bang (from our end — obviously an inaudible farting sound on the other end) of bubbling off from a previous universe meant that our universe emerged in ordered condition, rather than accidental chaos. This preserves the Second Law Of Thermodynamics, which says that systems progress from order to disorder, which explains why time runs in one direction. Serial universes explain the arrow of time.

Do our brains change when we travel in space?

In February, 1971, Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell experienced the little understood phenomenon sometimes called the “Overview Effect”. He describes being completely engulfed by a profound sense of universal connectedness. Without warning, he says, a feeing of bliss, timelessness, and connectedness began to overwhelm him. He describes becoming instantly and profoundly aware that each of his constituent atoms were connected to the fragile planet he saw in the window and to every other atom in the Universe. He described experiencing an intense awareness that Earth, with its humans, other animal species, and systems were all one synergistic whole. He says the feeling that rushed over him was a sense of interconnected euphoria. He was not the first—nor the last—to experience this strange “cosmic connection”.

Physicists create a universe smaller than a marble

By placing helium in a state which most closely resembles the form it held at the beginning of the universe, scientists have created an opportunity for the gas to go through several low-energy evolutions. These defects in space-time, are represented by tiny whirlpools in the helium, which are created by the rapid expansion, and equally rapid slowing of the expansion; something that it’s believed our own universe did at the big bang and in the moments thereafter.

Edgar Allan Poe predicted the Big Bang

In an era where the predominant view of the universe was that it was static and unchanging, only the size of what we call a galaxy, and some areas were still trying to convince fundamentalists that the Earth orbited the sun, Poe made a daring move. In “Eureka”, Poe postulated that the universe had a definite beginning, and that this beginning was as a single, unique primordial particle. The primary nature of this particle, he describes, is its oneness– its Unity. Poe continues to explain how at the universe’s inception, the Unity was surrendered and gave way to the abnormal condition of many, but the lost aspect of Unity was something that allowed this particle to be divided infinitely and not to be “totally exhausted by its diffusion into space.”

Further, he suggested that the particles which arose from this division are attracted back to one another (a concept he acknowledges came from Newton), and thus inexorably pull back toward each other in defiance of the energy which first split, then repelled them. He goes so far as to say everything with a beginning must have an end, and he believed the universe would end again as a single, primordial particle regaining Unity.

Hints of Structure Beyond the Visible Universe

Colossal structures larger than the visible universe – forged during the period of cosmic inflation nearly 14 billion years ago – may be responsible for a strange pattern seen in the big bang’s afterglow, says a team of cosmologists. If confirmed, the structures could provide precious information about the universe’s earliest moments.

Japanese Space Weddings

Space transportation provider Rocketplane Kistler Japan has teamed up with wedding planner First Advantage to begin hosting weddings aboard the Rocketplane XP suborbital spaceplane.

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