Earth-like planets are more likely to orbit sun-like stars rather than lower-mass stars

February 17, 2015 in Astronomy & Space - Astronomy, iS.T.A.R. News by Phys.org: Astronomy News

Simulations by researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology and Tsinghua University indicate that Earth-like planets are more likely to be found orbiting Sun-like stars rather than lower-mass stars that are currently targeted, in terms of water contents of planets.

Selfie with Venus and Mars

February 17, 2015 in iS.T.A.R. News, Today's Image by Deborah Byrd

Selfie by EarthSky Facebook friend Jean-Baptiste Feldmann in France.  Thank you, Jean-Baptiste!

Selfie with planets by Jean-Baptiste Feldmann. Thank you, Jean-Baptiste!

Isn’t this a cool image of the planets Venus (brighter) and Mars (above) in the western twilight sky? French photographer Jean-Baptiste Feldmann posted it at EarthSky Facebook over this past weekend (February 14-15, 2015).

It’s a beauty in and of itself and also because Venus and Mars are about to be amazing in the western sky after sunset. By this coming weekend, these two worlds will be at their closest since 2008. They won’t be this close again until 2017. What’s more, the moon is now coming back to the evening sky, and Venus and Mars and the waxing crescent moon will create some amazing sky scenes in the west after sunset, especially on February 20. Watch for them!

Don't miss Venus, Mars and the moon on Friday night, February 20, 2015! Read more.

Don’t miss Venus, Mars and the moon on Friday night, February 20, 2015! Read more.

Bottom line: The planets Venus and Mars are about to be amazing in the western sky after sunset. Watch for them. And enjoy this cool selfie from Jean-Baptiste Feldmann in France!

379.9 4.0 Updated: Today at 0911 UT

February 17, 2015 in iS.T.A.R. News by SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids

379.9 4.0 Updated: Today at 0911 UT B7 0644 UT Feb17 B7 0644 UT Feb17 Updated: Today at: 0900 UT Daily Sun: 17 Feb 15 The magnetic field of sunspot AR2282 has decayed. It no longer poses a threat for significant solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI

Updated 17 Feb 2015 Update 17 Feb 2015118 Updated 17 Feb 2015

13.9 7.8 Updated: Today at 0911 UT Coronal Holes: 17 Feb 15A Solar wind flowing from these polar coronal holes should reach Earth on Feb. 20-21. Credit: SDO/AIA. Updated at: 02-17-2015 05:55:03

THE SUN IS FLATLINING: For the 5th day in a row, solar activity remains very low. No sunspots are flaring, and the sun's X-ray output has and a 10% chance of on Feb. 17th.

NORTHERN LIGHTS: Auroras are dancing around the Arctic Circle as the leading edge of an approaching solar wind stream presses against Earth's magnetic field. "We had a really nice display around 9 pm local time on Feb. 16th," says Nick James, who sends this picture from Kiruna, Sweden:

The stage is set for more outbursts like James saw. Why? The interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) around Earth is tipping south, an arrangement that can open a crack in our planet's magnetosphere. If the incoming stream of solar wind pours through that crack, voila!--bright auroras. NOAA forecasters estimate a 35% chance of geomagnetic storms on Feb. 17th.

VENUS AND MARS: Venus and Mars are converging for a beautiful close encounter in the sunset sky. On Feb. 21st, the two planets will be so close together that sky watchers might lose Mars in Venus's glare. Last night, Eliot Herman photographed the pair, still relatively far apart, over Tucson, Arizona:

"There were light clouds in the fading sunlight," says Herman. "Bright Venus had a rainbow ring from the translucent cloud while the sky surrounding it was clear enough to let the stars and Mars shine through."

In only a few days, the two planets will be dramatically closer together. Their minimum separation on Feb. 21st, only 0.4o, is less than the width of a full Moon. The night before closest approach might be best of all: On Feb. 20th, the crescent Moon will pass right by the converging planets. Mark both dates on your calendar, Feb. 20th and 21st, and watch the western sky at sunset. It's a great way to end the day.


This post has been generated by Page2RSS

Hare and Dove at Orion’s feet

February 17, 2015 in iS.T.A.R. News, Tonight by Deborah Byrd

Tonight – look for one of the easiest-to-find constellations in the sky at this time of year. It’s recognizable for a short, straight row of three medium-bright stars. These stars represent the Belt of Orion the Hunter. As seen from latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll find Orion in the south around 8 p.m. As seen from the equatorial regions, Orion is more overhead. From the temperate parts of the Southern Hemisphere, Orion is seen in the northern sky. Also, notice the star Sirius nearby.

You’ll have no trouble spotting the constellation Orion the Hunter and the bright star Sirius tonight – or even on bright moonlit nights. But to see the Lepus the Hare and Columba the Dove, you need a moderately dark sky with little to no moonlight.

On old sky maps, the mighty Hunter of the ancient myths is seen poised with an upraised club and shield, as though fending off the raging Bull, Taurus. Lepus and Columba seem to cower at the Hunter’s feet.

Lepus the Hare was described by Roman stargazers as being “swift,” “light-footed,” and “eared.” Columba the Dove can be found to the south of the Hare. This little constellation is sometimes ignored in Northern Hemisphere books about the sky, probably because it is so far south as seen from the U.S. Richard Hinckley Allen, in his classic book Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning, wrote that Columba was first seen in constellation drawings in 1603. But, he said, there are hints in early writings that stargazers knew the name Columba, and identified a Dove here, as long as 17 centuries ago.

Enjoying EarthSky? Sign up for our free daily newsletter today!

Not too late. Order your 2015 EarthSky lunar calendar today!

A planisphere is virtually indispensable for beginning stargazers. Order your EarthSky planisphere today!

Bottom line: Lepus the Hare and Columba the Dove are two faint constellations near the easy-to-find constellation Orion.

Profile photo of APOD by APOD

M106: A Spiral Galaxy with a Strange Center

February 17, 2015 in iS.T.A.R. News by APOD

What's happening at the center of spiral galaxy M106? What's happening at the center of spiral galaxy M106?


Profile photo of APOD by APOD

Fibrils Flower on the Sun

February 17, 2015 in iS.T.A.R. News by APOD

When does the Sun look like a flower? When does the Sun look like a flower?


374.6 3.6 Updated: Today at 0500 UT

February 17, 2015 in iS.T.A.R. News by SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids

374.6 3.6 Updated: Today at 0500 UT

Sunspot number: 44

13.3 2 Updated: Today at 0501 UT

Come to Tromsø and share Marianne's passion for rural photography: Chasethelighttours.co.uk invites you to experience "Heaven on Earth" with an aurora, fjord, fishing, whale watching, photography or sightseeing tour.


This post has been generated by Page2RSS

346.8 13.1 Updated: Today at 0050 UT

February 17, 2015 in iS.T.A.R. News by SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids

346.8 13.1 Updated: Today at 0050 UT B5 2320 UT Feb16 Updated: Today at: 2359 UT
3 Kp= 3 12.7 10.1 Updated: Today at 0051 UT Updated at: 02-16-2015 21:55:02Updated at: 2015 Feb 16 2200 UTC
01 %
01 %
Updated at: 2015 Feb 16 2200 UTC
01 %
20 %
35 %
Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015
On February 17, 2015 there were
16 m
22 m
32 m

This post has been generated by Page2RSS

Intergalactic Gas (2)

February 17, 2015 in iS.T.A.R. News by Daily Space Wallpaper


Everything About Kepler-432b is Extreme, Especially the Way it’s Going to Die

February 16, 2015 in Exoplanets, Extra Solar Planets, Extrasolar Planets, iS.T.A.R. News, Kepler, Kepler mission by Nancy Atkinson

Illustration of the orbit of Kepler-432b (inner, red) in comparison to the orbit of Mercury around the Sun (outer, orange). Credit: Dr. Sabine Reffert.

Illustration of the orbit of Kepler-432b (inner, red) in comparison to the orbit of Mercury around the Sun (outer, orange). Credit: Dr. Sabine Reffert.

Astronomers are calling Kepler-432b a ‘maverick’ planet because everything about this newly found exoplanet is an extreme, and is unlike anything we’ve found before. This is a giant, dense planet orbiting a red giant star, and the planet has enormous temperature swings throughout its year. In addition to all these extremes, there’s another reason you wouldn’t want to live on Kepler 432b: its days are numbered.

“In less than 200 million years, Kepler-432b will be swallowed by its continually expanding host star,” said Mauricio Ortiz, a PhD student at Heidelberg University who led one of the two studies of the planet. “This might be the reason why we do not find other planets like Kepler-432b – astronomically speaking, their lives are extremely short.”
(...)
Read the rest of Everything About Kepler-432b is Extreme, Especially the Way it’s Going to Die (246 words)


© nancy for Universe Today, 2015. | Permalink | No comment |
Post tags: , ,

Feed enhanced by Better Feed from Ozh