Say Hello To Earth 2.0! Historic Kepler Discovery Suggests We Are Not Alone

An artist's impression of Kepler 452b

photo credit: This artist’s impression of Kepler 452b shows how its surface might look, complete with water and active volcanoes. SETI Institute/Danielle Futselaar.

Remember the name Kepler 452b. Because in our search to discover if we are alone in this vast and fascinating universe, a sole life-harboring world among countless dead and uninhabitable planets, we may finally have a true candidate for Earth 2.0.

For the first time, scientists have found what appears to be a rocky world orbiting a Sun-like star at almost exactly the same distance that Earth orbits our own Sun. While other potentially habitable planets have been found before, this is the first that could plausibly be another Earth. This might be the real deal, people.

Kepler 452b, found by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, is located 1,400 light-years from us. It orbits a star that is 4% more massive and 10% brighter than our Sun. The planet itself is 1.6 times the size of Earth – making it a super-Earth – but the scientists are fairly sure that it is a rocky world, owing to its size and the type of star it orbits.

Its orbit, 384.84 Earth days and 5% more distant than our planet is from the Sun, places it right in its star’s habitable zone, where it is not too hot or cold for liquid water to form: the same region Earth is in around the Sun. This is not the first Earth-sized planet found in a habitable zone; last year, the world was abuzz with the discovery of Kepler 186f, more similar in size to Earth. But that planet orbited a red dwarf star, smaller and cooler than the Sun. Kepler 452b, excitingly, orbits almost an exact clone of the Sun.

“Sun-like stars are people’s favorites, because we know of one circumstance [Earth] where that paid off [for life],” Seth Shostak, the Director of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), which was involved in the planet discovery, told IFLScience.

Shostak revealed to IFLScience that, such was the potential habitability of this world, SETI was already studying it to find out if there were any signs of life coming from it, albeit so far to no avail. “We have actually started looking at this with the Allen Telescope Array to check it for obvious signals of artificial origin,” he said. “We haven’t looked over all the frequencies yet, but if there are any aliens on Kepler 452b they are being very coy.”

 

Shown is an artist’s impression of Earth compared to Kepler 452b. NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle.

Although the mass of the planet can’t be directly determined yet, the scientists think it may be about five times that of Earth based on models. A rocky planet of this size and mass would likely still have active volcanism on the surface.

However, it should be noted that the star it orbits is 1.5 billion years older than our Sun. On the one hand, this increased energy from its star means that any oceans on its surface are likely being evaporated, lowering its chance of being habitable. On the other hand, this planet offers a fascinating opportunity to see what might become of Earth in the future.

“If Kepler 452b is indeed a rocky planet, its location vis-a-vis its star could mean that it is just entering a runaway greenhouse phase of its climate history,” Doug Caldwell, a SETI Institute scientist working on the Kepler mission, said in a statement. “Kepler 452b could be experiencing now what the Earth will undergo more than a billion years from now, as the Sun ages and grows brighter.”

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This new planet joins others such as Kepler 186f, illustrated, as potentially Earth-like worlds. NASA Ames/SETI/JPL-Caltech.

Kepler 452b was found in a new catalog of 500 exoplanet candidates from four years of Kepler data. 12 of these are less than twice Earth’s diameter and orbiting in their star’s habitable zone, but Kepler 452b was the first to be confirmed as a planet. It could therefore be just one of many Earth 2.0s that are on the cusp of being announced.

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“Kepler 452b takes us one step closer to understanding how many habitable planets are out there,” said Joseph Twicken, also of the SETI Institute and the lead scientific programmer for the Kepler mission, in a statement.

While Kepler 452b ticks almost all of the boxes for being an Earth twin, there is one that it doesn’t – its size, which is 60% greater than Earth. Thus, while NASA is heralding it as the best candidate for Earth 2.0 so far, the hunt will go on for even more Earth-like planets.

NASA’s Kepler telescope, artist’s impression shown, was launched in 2009. NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech.

Actually finding life on these planets is more difficult. Although upcoming telescopes like theJames Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be designed to study the atmospheres of exoplanets and search for signs of habitability, the range for doing this will be just tens of light-years from Earth, said Shostak. Kepler 452b, at 1,400 light-years away, is too far to be comprehensively studied at the moment.

But one thing is for sure – the chances of us being alone in this universe are looking increasingly slim. Whether it’s Kepler 452b or Kepler 186f or some other undiscovered planet, somewhere out there, there must be a world with life waiting for us to find it.

“Kepler 452b is one small step in answering the question [of are we alone] today,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, in a press conference.

Aliens ahoy! Massive mothership ‘the size of Idaho’ caught in NASA images, say ufologists

© NASA

A massive alien spacecraft, around the size of the US state of Idaho, has been spotted near the sun by ufologists in recent NASA pictures. They say the object definitely has a structure.

The video released by Youtube user Streetcap1 shows the original NASA image of the sun captured by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) on July 15, 2015.

“This UFO is awesome! Every time I try to ask NASA about these UFOs on Twitter, they ignore me. They have never answered me and refuse to talk about these giant UFOs near our sun,” said a statement from the UFO Sightings Daily, a website devoted to possible UFO detections on or above our planet.

READ MORE: Foam UFO: Weird glittering floating mass caught on camera over Philly (VIDEO)

According to the website, whose slogan is “the truth is within our grasp” (echoing the X-Files’ “The Truth is Out There”), the alleged alien craft is about the size of Idaho (216,000 square kilometers).

UFO Sightings Daily cited an eyewitness who said the object, which is definitely not a space rock or a piece of space junk,“has structure and for NASA to dismiss it as nothing is an insult to people’s intelligence.”

“If they post data then they must expect UFO hunters to find anomalies and share them.”

Does Nibiru – Planet X really exist?

There are countless articles on the internet talking about this mysterious planet, some of these refer to it as possible ‘murderer’ of Earth. All kinds of dreadful gravitational phenomena are connected with Nibiru and some even argue that Planet X or Nibiru poses a threat to Earth, and that one day it will collide against our planet. Science argues that it might exist, but they just haven seen it yet. Mythologically speaking, Nibiru is present in many ancient Sumerian writing.

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Due to the large number of natural disasters that have happened on our planet in the recent years, many people claim that it is due to the approach of Nibiru, aka The Twelfth Planet or Planet X and many researchers warn of a global catastrophe. Ufologists believe that astronomers and scientists are monitoring Nibiru although this information is kept hidden from the public as many other subjects.

There are many ufologists who suspect that agencies like NASA, are searching in the background for the ancient planet Nibiru, home to the annunaki. Media reports in Russia point toward certain people predicting that this mysterious planet is approaching Earth, and that the consequences of this encounter could be catastrophic bringing upon our planet many disasters including earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, fires and meteor showers among other things. But does this planet actually exist?

In 1976, the late Zecharia Sitchin raised a controversy with the publication of his book “The Twelfth Planet”. In this and subsequent books, Sitchin presented his translations of ancient Sumerian texts which tell an incredible story regarding the origins of mankind on Earth, stories that are completely different to those that most of us learned in school.

nibiru-orbit

According to the ancient cuneiform texts, which are believed to be some of the oldest writings known to date, go back at least 6,000 years. These writings explain the history of a race of beings called the Anunnaki. The Anunnaki came to Earth from a planet in our solar system which is called Nibiru. Sadly, many people have never heard of it, because according to mainstream science the planet called Nibiru does not exist. However, according to Sitchin, the presence of Nibiru is very important for the past and future of humanity.

The orbit of Nibiru around the sun is believed to be extremely elliptical, and according to text, it is located far beyond the orbit of Pluto. Bribe takes around 3600 years to complete one orbit around the Sun. Nibiru is believed to be the home planet of the Anunnaki. The approach of Nibiru towards the planets of our solar system might pose a huge threat given its gravitational characteristics.

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Astronomers today suggest that there is in fact a planet called Planet X, located beyond the orbit of Pluto, a planet that explains the anomalies in the orbits of Neptune and Uranus, the New York times even talked about in 1982:

Something out there beyond the farthest reaches of the known solar system seems to be tugging at Uranus and Neptune. Some gravitational force keeps perturbing the two giant planets, causing irregularities in their orbits. The force suggests a presence far away and unseen, a large object that may be the long- sought Planet X. … The last time a serious search of the skies was made it led to the discovery in 1930 of Pluto, the ninth planet.

Quantum Equation Suggests The Big Bang Never Occurred – The Universe Has No Beginning

bigbang

When it comes to the science regarding the true nature of our reality, you won’t find a shortage of theories, or a shortage of criticisms of each theory. We are like a race with amnesia, trying to discover and search for an answer that most probably exists, but has yet to be discovered. How did the universe begin?

According to new research, there might not have been a big bang. Instead, the universe might have existed forever. The theory was derived from the mathematics of general relativity, and compliment Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

“The Big Ban singularity is the most serious problem of general relativity because the laws of physics appear to break down there.”  – Ahmed Farag Ali, Benha University, Co-Author of the study. (source)

The big bang theory postulates that everything in existence resulted from a single event that launched the creation of the entire universe and that everything in existence today was once part of a single infinitely dense point, also known as the “singularity.”

Here is a good picture representing what the big bang theory is referring to.

bang

So the big bang, again, postulates that the universe started out as an infinitely small point in space called a singularity, then exploded and created space where there was no space before, and that it is continually expanding. One big question regarding that expansion is; how did it happen? As you can see in the picture, “who is that guy?!”

According to Nassim Haramein, the Director of Research for the Resonance Project

“For every action there is an equal opposite reaction.” is one of the most foundational and proven concepts in all of physics. Therefore, if the universe is expanding then “the guy” (or whatever “he” is), who is blowing up that balloon, has to have some huge lungs that are contracting to be able to blow it up. This a concept that Nassim Haramein began exploring when creating an alternative unified field theory to explain the universe.” (source)

This is one out of many criticisms regarding the big bang theory. There are many considerations to be pondered. Can something come from nothing? What about quantum mechanics and the possibility that there is no moment of time at which the universe did not exist?

Again, so many considerations to be pondered.

According to Phys.org:

“The scientists propose that this fluid might be composed of gravitons—hypothetical massless particles that mediate the force of gravity. If they exist, gravitons are thought to play a key role in a theory of quantum gravity.In a related paper, Das and another collaborator, Rajat Bhaduri of McMaster University, Canada, have lent further credence to this model. They show that gravitons can form a Bose-Einstein condensate (named after Einstein and another Indian physicist, Satyendranath Bose) at temperatures that were present in the universe at all epochs.” (source)

The theory also suggests (obviously) that there are no singularities or dark matter, and that the universe is filled with a “quantum fluid.” These scientists are suggesting that this quantum fluid is filled with gravitons.

According to Phys.org:

“In a related paper, Das and another collaborator, Rajat Bhaduri of McMaster University, Canada, have lent further credence to this model. They show that gravitons can form a Bose-Einstein condensate (named after Einstein and another Indian physicist, Satyendranath Bose) at temperatures that were present in the universe at all epochs.”

As you can see, when quantum mechanics is thrown into the equation things appear to be far different. Again, this new theory is suggesting that the universe could have always existed, that it never was what we perceive to be as “the  beginning.” Perhaps it was just an event that did occur that we perceive as the beginning, perhaps the event occurred not from nothing, but something. Again, who is that guy blowing on the balloon in the picture? There is something there that has yet to be discovered.

“As far as we can see, since different points in the universe never actually converged in the past, it did not have a beginning. It lasted forever. It will also not have an end, in other words, there is no singularity. The universe could have lasted forever. It could have gone through cycles of being small and big. or it could have been created much earlier.” –  Saurya Das at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, Co-Author of the study. (source)

What We Know Is Often Just Theory

To conclude, it’s clear that we do not yet have a solid explanation regarding what happened during the Big Bang, or if it even happened at all. This new theory is combining general relativity with quantum mechanics, and at the end of the day these are all just theories.

Not to mention the fact that theories regarding multiple dimensions, multiple universes and more have to be considered. When looking for the starting point of creation, our own universe might not even be the place to start. It might be hard given the fact that we cannot yet perceive other factors that have played a part in the make up of what we call reality. What is even harder is the fact that quantum physics is showing that the true nature and make up of the universe is not a physical material thing!

We just don’t know yet, and there are still new findings in modern day physics that delve into non-materialistic science that many mainstream materialistic scientists have yet to grasp and acknowledge.

I’ll leave you with a quote that might give you something to think about:

“A fundamental conclusion of the new physics also acknowledges that the observer creates the reality. As observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality. Physicists are being forced to admit that the universe is a “mental” construction. Pioneering physicist Sir James Jeans wrote: “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” (R. C. Henry, “The Mental Universe”; Nature 436:29, 2005)

“Despite the unrivaled empirical success of quantum theory, the very suggestion that it may be literally true as a description of nature is still greeted with cynicism, incomprehension and even anger. (T. Folger, “Quantum Shmantum”; Discover 22:37-43, 2001)

Sources:

http://arxiv.org/abs/1404.3093v3

http://phys.org/news/2015-02-big-quantum-equation-universe.html

NASA just announced it’ll be visiting this beautiful moon for the first time

The hunt for extraterrestrial life just grew a little hotter.

On Monday, during his State of NASA speech, administrator Charles Bolden announced that NASA would be selecting projects to accompany a probe to Jupiter’s moon Europa.

Floating in space about 390 million miles from earth, Europa is a remote ice ball that harbors a massive ocean underneath its surface.

So massive, in fact, that scientists suspect Europa could have as much as two to three times more liquid water than Earth does.

Judging from the abundance of life thriving in Earth’s oceans, where there’s liquid water, there’s the potential for life.

Not only that, Europa is absolutely gorgeous:

EuropaNASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

Europa is about 1,900 miles in diameter — slightly smaller than our moon. The brown veins that give the moon it’s iconic beauty are still a mystery, but the leading theory is that they show where Europa’s crust cracked open, letting warmer, dirtier water seep through and then freeze.

Jupiter’s strong gravitational tug on the tiny moon generates tidal forces that stretch the entire surface — similar to how the Moon’s gravity tugs the water in Earth’s oceans, creating tides. The stretching then cracks the crust, letting water deep beneath the surface to seep through.

But that’s not the only impact the gas giant has on its moon. As NASA astrobiologist Kevin Hand explains in a video about Europa:

Europa has liquid water because the moon is orbiting Jupiter, and the tidal tug and pull causes Europa to flex up and down — all that tidal energy turns into friction and heat that helps maintain this liquid water ocean beneath an icy shell.

europaNASA

Below is a close-up of the circular impact crater in the southern hemisphere in the image above. Called Pwyll, the impact crater is a relatively new feature on the surface of Europa, and it is also compelling evidence of the enormous ocean sloshing underneath the surface.

Scientists suspect that when the impactor hit, it splattered fresh, fine water ice particles everywhere that now show up as the bright-white arms adorning the moon’s face around the darker crater. NASA’s Galileo spacecraft — the only probe to fly by Europa more than once — took the image below in 1998 showing the darker crater, which is about 16 miles in diameter.

europaNASA/JPL/University of Arizona

The impact crater’s arms reach far across the surface. Even 620 miles north of the crater you can see evidence of the white streaks in the awesome close-up shot below.

The white and blue colors are the residual ice particles from the blast. Galileo snapped this photo of this region, which is 44 miles wide by 19 miles long, in 1996.

europaNASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Although Galileo took the most detailed images of Europa we have, astronomers still don’t know exactly how much liquid water there is or if life hides underneath the moon’s icy shell. That is why, just last year, NASA issued a Request for Information to the scientific community to offer up ideas on the best, economically viable approach to study this amazing moon.

Now, it looks as if some of those ideas might have paid off as scientists look forward to learning more about the future mission to Europa this spring.

According to NASA the mission should complete the following tasks:

  • Characterize the extent of the ocean and its relation to the deeper interior
  • Characterize the ice shell and any subsurface water, including their heterogeneity, and the nature of surface-ice-ocean exchange
  • Determine global surface, compositions and chemistry, especially as related to habitability
  • Understand the formation of surface features, including sites of recent or current activity, identify and characterize candidate sites for future detailed exploration
  • Understand Europa’s space environment and interaction with the magnetosphere.

Check out a video of the State of NASA address announced on Monday:

 

NASA Cuts Live ISS Video Feed As UFO Appears (Real Footage)

feature

NASA was recently accused of cutting their live feed from the International Space Station (ISS)  just as an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) was spotted hovering in sight.

The event took place on January 15th and is causing quite a stir. As you can see, it’s a small grey object slowly rising and then disappearing as NASA cut the feed.  I am not saying this is an extraterrestrial space craft, but it’s unidentified.

That being said, I have provided some officially documented UFO footage from NASA in a video below this one, as well as more, vital information regarding the UFO phenomenon.

The video seems to be going viral, and sparking much controversy as many mainstream media outlets are claiming that the accusers are ‘conspiracy theorists.’ Anytime the subject of UFOs is placed within the realm of conspiracy theory, it does harm to a very serious issue that has had the attention of governments, military/intelligence agencies and many others for a very long time -not to mention several NASA astronauts.

UFO encounters have been well documented for decades and the evidence is quite abundant.

For example, 2005 ISS Commander recently opened up about his UFO sighting in space, you can read more about that here.

Below is a quote that touches upon what I mentioned  in the paragraph above, this topic is far from a joke. Below that you will find quotes from actual NASA astronauts.

There are objects in our atmosphere, which are technically miles in advance of anything we can deploy, that we have no means of stopping them from coming here. There is a serious possibility that we are being visited and have been visited for many years by people from outer space, by other civilizations. Who they are, where they are from, and what they want should be the subject of rigorous scientific investigation and not be the subject of ‘rubishing’ by tabloid newspapers.” (source) – Lord Admiral Hill-Norton, Former Chief of Defence Staff, 5 Star Admiral of the Royal Navy, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee

“There is abundant evidence that we are being contacted, that civilizations have been monitoring us for a very long time. That their appearance is bizarre from any type of traditional materialistic western point of view. That these visitors use the technologies of consciousness, they use toroids, they use co-rotating magnetic disks for their propulsion systems, that seems to be a common denominator of the UFO phenomenon” (source) – Dr. Brian O’leary, Former NASA astronaut and Princeton Physics Professor

“Yes there have been crashed craft, and bodies recovered. We are not alone in the universe, they have been coming here for a long time.” (source) (source) – Dr. Edgar Mitchell, 6th man to walk on the moon.

“In my opinion I think they were worried that it would panic the public so they started telling lies about it. And then I think they had to tell another lie to cover their first lie, now they don’t know how to get out of it. Now it’s going to be so embarrassing to admit that all these administrations have told so many untruths, it would be embarrassing getting out of it. There are a number of extraterrestrial vehicles out there cruising around.” (source) – Gordon Cooper, Former NASA Astronaut, Aeronautical Engineer and test pilot. One of the seven original Astronauts in Project Mercury, the first manned space program of the United States

Spectacular Footage From NASA’s STS – 48 Discovery Space Shuttle

When it comes to real footage of UFOs (unidentified flying objects), film from the 1991 NASA STS-48 Discovery Space Shuttle mission is definitely one at the top of the list. This footage is real, well documented, and has been the subject of rigorous scientific investigation by multiple researchers and institutions. (source1)(source2)(source3) Since NASA is related in this article I thought it would be fitting to post. Unlike the post above, this is officially verified UFO footage.

Beyond Statements And Into Documentation

The latest batch of documentation comes from the United States Air Force. They released filed from what was called “Project Blue Book.” Blue book was an investigation conducted by the government decades ago to examine the UFO phenomenon, but it seems to have been created to actually debunk the UFO phenomenon in a time where UFOs were making a lot of buzz.

That being said, it does document military encounters with UFOs and statements made by various ranks within the military regarding UFOs and extraterrestrial beings. You can learn more about that with the recent video that was just put out by the Air Force Times here.  You can also find out more information in the United States National Archives here.

Remember, many UFO researchers and academicians regard Project Blue Book as a tool to debunk the UFO phenomenon. World renown researcher Richard Dolan has also stated that it was a “joke of an operation.”

HERE is the latest batch of UFO files released from the United Kingdom.

Documents released by the National Security Agency (NSA) reveal what is recorded when a UFO is being tracked on radar. HERE is one example. HERE is a four page U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency and NSA report describing a particular encounter in great detail.  You can read more about the radar tracking of UFOs HERE.

Thousands upon thousands of UFO related documents are now available in the public domain. For a summary of more documents that have been declassified and made available, a video done by UFO researcher Richard Dolan does a great job of going through the subject in just 10 minutes. To watch it click HERE.

Related CE article:

If You Still Think We Are Alone In The Universe – You Might Want To See This 

For more articles on the topic of UFOs and extraterrestrials you can visit the Exopolitics section of our website by clicking HERE.

Sources:

All sources embedded within the article.

Newly discovered ‘Super Saturn’ has colossal ring system

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This is the first planetary ring system discovered outside the Solar System, and it’s got a diameter roughly 200 times larger than Saturn’s.

stronomers have found a planetary ring system with such enormous proportions, it makes Saturn’s rings look puny. The rings have formed around a young, giant exoplanet called J1407b, and they’re the first of their kind to be found outside our Solar System.

The rings were first discovered in 2012, thanks to a team led by Eric Mamajek from the University of Rochester in the US, but back then, they had no way of knowing just how big they were. They’ve since teamed up with researchers led by Matthew Kenworthy at Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands to analyse 30 individual J1407b rings to finally realise the true scale of these concentric beauties.

Turns out, each ring is tens of millions of kilometres in diameter, and the gaps between them suggest that whole satellites – or ‘exomoons’ – have formed there, just like the many tiny ’shepherd’ moons of Saturn, such as Pan and Daphnis, that continue to orbit it. The diameter of the whole system is about 120 million kilometres wide.

“This planet is much larger than Jupiter or Saturn, and its ring system is roughly 200 times larger than Saturn’s rings are today,” said Mamajek in a university press release. “You could think of it as kind of a super Saturn.”

The planet is too far away to see the rings directly, so instead, the team analysed data captured by the SuperWASP project – a survey that that detects gas giants that move in front of their parent star and dim their light – so ‘eclipse’ them. In 2012, Mamajek saw odd eclipses moving in front of a young star, called J1407, and suggested that perhaps they were being caused by a moon-forming disc that had formed around a young companion planet.

Now, using imaging techniques such as Doppler spectroscopy to estimate the mass of the ringed object, the Rochester and Leiden Observatory researchers have backed up this claim, saying that the star J1407 likely has a ringed companion, which they’re calling J1407b.

“The details that we see in the light curve are incredible. The eclipse lasted for several weeks, but you see rapid changes on time scales of tens of minutes as a result of fine structures in the rings,” says Kenworthy. “The star is much too far away to observe the rings directly, but we could make a detailed model based on the rapid brightness variations in the star light passing through the ring system. If we could replace Saturn’s rings with the rings around J1407b, they would be easily visible at night and be many times larger than the full moon.”

The team’s paper has been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal.

The researchers also found that this Super Saturn’s ring system likely contains around an Earth’s worth of mass in floating dust particles. “If you were to grind up the four large Galilean moons of Jupiter into dust and ice and spread out the material over their orbits in a ring around Jupiter, the ring would be so opaque to light that a distant observer that saw the ring pass in front of the sun would see a very deep, multi-day eclipse,” Mamajek says. “In the case of J1407, we see the rings blocking as much as 95 percent of the light of this young Sun-like star for days, so there is a lot of material there that could then form satellites.”

In the data the astronomers found at least one clean gap in the ring structure, which is more clearly defined in the new model. “One obvious explanation is that a satellite formed and carved out this gap,” says Kenworthy. “The mass of the satellite could be between that of Earth and Mars. The satellite would have an orbital period of approximately two years around J1407b.”

Nobody tell Saturn she’s been upstaged. There’s no telling what the ‘crazy cat lady of the Solar System’ might do, but I could take a guess, and it involves multiple cats being hurled in our general direction.

Here’s a computer model that fits the light curve of the star J1407, as seen in the SuperWASP data:

Watch The Delta IV Rocket Launch Live

photo credit: United Launch Alliance

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That seems to be the motto for the United Launch Alliance, who are currently on their fifth attempt to launch a Delta IV rocket to deploy satellites for the US Air Force. The rocket was originally scheduled to launch last Wednesday, but was scrubbed due to an equipment issue. The launch was also scrubbed on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday because of unfavorable weather at Cape Canaveral. The launch window today (Monday) will open at 6:43 pm EDT. At the time of this writing, the launch is still a go and the weather is 60%.

The rocket will be delivering the first two Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites which will allow for more accurate tracking of manmade objects orbiting Earth. The second set of two satellites in the GSSAP program will launch next year.

Also being launched today is a satellite for the Air Force’s Automated Navigation and Guidance Experiment for Local Space (ANGELS) which will help provide information about the environment around space assets. During its one year mission, it will test maneuvering techniques above geosynchronous Earth orbit and has sensors to detect, track, and characterize objects in space.

The launch and surrounding events will be streamed live from 6-10 pm EDT, courtesy of Spaceflight Now. You can check it out right here:



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The Sun Is Eerily Quiet, And Scientists Aren’t Sure Why

Just a few weeks back the Sun was peppered with sunspots- dark areas stretching thousands of kilometers across that come and go. This was hardly surprising given that it is currently in the middle of its solar maximum– the most active period in the Sun’s 11-year cycle. But in an image taken last Thursday by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory there was not a spot in sight. A day later, one lonely sunspot seemed to be making an appearance, and scientists aren’t quite sure why the Sun is displaying this peculiarly quiet behavior.

According to solar physicist Tony Phillips, while this observation is out of the ordinary, the solar maximum we are currently experiencing is the weakest one for a century.

“It’s weird, but it’s not super weird,” Phillips told LA Times. “It all underlines that solar physicists really don’t know what the heck is happening on the Sun. We just don’t know how to predict the Sun, that is the take away message of this event.”

Sunspots are caused by extremely strong magnetic fields that cause magnetic pressure to increase in an area while the surrounding atmospheric pressure decreases. This then causes a slight drop in temperature as the concentrated magnetic field prevents hot gas flowing from the Sun’s interior to the surface. Sunspots often occur in pairs with the magnetic field pouring out of one and entering the other.

Sometimes the magnetic fields can become twisted, resulting in a huge build-up of energy and massive explosions on the photosphere. These explosions are called Coronal Mass Ejections and solar flares. When sunspots are particular active, resulting in numerous solar flares, geomagnetic storm activity is increased and we see spectacular Northern and Southern Lights.

As Alex Young, a heliophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, points out, it’s difficult to know what can be classed as “normal” behavior from the Sun given that we’ve only been intensively studying it for the last 50 odd years; a speck on its 4.5 billion year history.

As it stands, whether or not this quiet period will continue for an extended period of time remains unknown and highlights the unpredictable nature of our Sun.



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NASA Launches ‘Flying Saucer’ to Test Mars Landing Tech (Video)

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