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ScienceCasts: Getting to Know the Goldilocks Planet

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Visit http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/29mar_goldilocks/ for more. NASA's Kepler spacecraft is discovering a veritable avalanche of alien worlds. As the numbers mount, it seems to be just a matter of time before Kepler finds what astronomers are really looking for: an Earth-like planet orbiting its star in the "Goldilocks zone".
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    TrES-2b, located 750 light-years from our Solar System, is the darkest known planet in the observable universe.

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    The planet HD 189773b constantly rains glass, sideways.

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    The planet WASP-17b is almost double the size of Jupiter, the largest planet in our Solar System.

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Space is unbelievably strange. You would be forgiven for thinking that every planet out there is similar, just a big ball of rock and gas, but planets are remarkably more unique than that. Here's the top 10 strangest planets in the known universe, that seem like they belong in some bizarre science fiction series. Subscribe - New Videos Every Monday & Thursday: https://www.youtube.com/Thoughty2 Support me on Patreon: http://thoughty2.com/patreon Facebook: http://thoughty2.com/facebook Twitter: http://thoughty2.com/twitter Thoughty2 Merchandise: http://thoughty2.spreadshirt.com With Special Thanks To: Morgan, Liam Evans, Misha A-Wilson, Katrina Brogan
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Visit http://science.nasa.gov/ for more. Once, astronomers thought planets couldn't form around binary stars. Now Kepler has found a whole system of planets orbiting a double star. This finding shows that planetary systems are weirder and more abundant than previously thought.
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SciShow Space starts the year off with a bang, and the discovery of 8 Earth-like planets, two of which may be the most promising candidates yet for harboring life. ---------- Like SciShow? Want to help support us, and also get things to put on your walls, cover your torso and hold your liquids? Check out our awesome products over at DFTBA Records: http://dftba.com/artist/52/SciShow Or help support us by subscribing to our page on Subbable: https://subbable.com/scishow ---------- Looking for SciShow elsewhere on the internet? Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/scishow Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/scishow Tumblr: http://scishow.tumblr.com Thanks Tank Tumblr: http://thankstank.tumblr.com Sources:
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This animation shows the prototype starshade, a giant structure designed to block the glare of stars so that future space telescopes can take pictures of planets. A spacecraft that looks like a giant sunflower might one day be used to acquire images of Earth-like rocky planets around nearby stars. The prototype deployable structure, called a starshade, is being developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The hunt is on for planets that resemble Earth in size, composition and temperature. Rocky planets with just the right temperature for liquid water -- not too hot, not too cold -- could be possible abodes for life outside our solar system. NASA's Kepler mission has discovered hundreds of planets orbiting other stars, called exoplanets, some of which are a bit larger than Earth and lie in this comfortable "Goldilocks" zone. Researchers generally think it's only a matter of time before we find perfect twins of Earth. The next step would be to image and characterize their spectra, or chemical signatures, which provide clear clues about whether those worlds could support life. The starshade is designed to help take those pictures of planets by blocking out the overwhelmingly bright light of their stars. Simply put, the starshade is analogous to holding your hand up to the sun to block it while taking a picture of somebody. The proposed starshade could launch together with a telescope. Once in space, it would separate from the rocket and telescope, unfurl its petals, then move into position to block the light of stars. The project is led by Jeremy Kasdin, a professor at Princeton University, N.J., in conjunction with JPL and support from Northrop Grumman of Redondo Beach, Calif. Kasdin gave a TED talk about the project on March 19. More information is at: http://blog.ted.com/2014/03/19/blocking-light-to-see-planets-beyond-the-solar-system-jeremy-kasdin-at-ted2014/ See also "Flower Power: NASA Reveals Spring Starshade Animation": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gC7pjlCKZe4 Related releases "Space Sunflower May Help Snap Pictures of Planets": http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2014-089 Release Date: 20 March 2014 Credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)-Caltech
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Visit http://science.nasa.gov/ for more! Stars are bright, but their planets are not, which makes planet hunting difficult. However, NASA's ultraviolet telescope GALEX may be providing a solution.
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NASA's Kepler Space Telescope has discovered the first validated Earth-size planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a distant star, an area where liquid water might exist on its surface. The planet, Kepler-186f, is ten percent larger in size than Earth and orbits its parent star, Kepler-186, every 130 days. The star, located about 500 light-years from Earth, is classified as an M1 dwarf and is half the size and mass of our sun. "April 17, 2014. Using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the "habitable zone" -- the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun. While planets have previously been found in the habitable zone, they are all at least 40 percent larger in size than Earth, and understanding their makeup is challenging. Kepler-186f is more reminiscent of Earth. "The discovery of Kepler-186f is a significant step toward finding worlds like our planet Earth," said Paul Hertz, NASA's Astrophysics Division director at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "Future NASA missions, like the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and the James Webb Space Telescope, will discover the nearest rocky exoplanets and determine their composition and atmospheric conditions, continuing humankind's quest to find truly Earth-like worlds." Although the size of Kepler-186f is known, its mass and composition are not. Previous research, however, suggests that a planet the size of Kepler-186f is likely to be rocky. "We know of just one planet where life exists -- Earth. When we search for life outside our solar system, we focus on finding planets with characteristics that mimic that of Earth," said Elisa Quintana, research scientist at the SETI Institute at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and lead author of the paper published today in the journal Science. "Finding a habitable zone planet comparable to Earth in size is a major step forward." Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system, about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The system is also home to four companion planets, which orbit a star half the size and mass of our sun. The star is classified as an M dwarf, or red dwarf, a class of stars that makes up 70 percent of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy. "M dwarfs are the most numerous stars," said Quintana. "The first signs of other life in the galaxy may well come from planets orbiting an M dwarf." Kepler-186f orbits its star once every 130 days and receives one-third the energy from its star that Earth gets from the sun, placing it nearer the outer edge of the habitable zone. On the surface of Kepler-186f, the brightness of its star at high noon is only as bright as our sun appears to us about an hour before sunset. "Being in the habitable zone does not mean we know this planet is habitable. The temperature on the planet is strongly dependent on what kind of atmosphere the planet has," said Thomas Barclay, research scientist at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute at Ames, and co-author of the paper. "Kepler-186f can be thought of as an Earth-cousin rather than an Earth-twin. It has many properties that resemble Earth." The four companion planets, Kepler-186b, Kepler-186c, Kepler-186d and Kepler-186e, whiz around their sun every four, seven, 13 and 22 days, respectively, making them too hot for life as we know it. These four inner planets all measure less than 1.5 times the size of Earth. The next steps in the search for distant life include looking for true Earth-twins -- Earth-size planets orbiting within the habitable zone of a sun-like star -- and measuring their chemical compositions. The Kepler Space Telescope, which simultaneously and continuously measured the brightness of more than 150,000 stars, is NASA's first mission capable of detecting Earth-size planets around stars like our sun. The SETI Institute is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific research, education and public outreach. The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe. Related Videos: "NASA's Kepler Discovers First Earth-Size Planet In The Habitable Zone of Another Star": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mV7Pg2RO4c "Kepler Discovers First Earth-size Planet " Kepler-186f " in the Habitable Zone of Another Star B-roll": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7lHbXxV0fk "Kepler-186f Animation": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx4ERG6UJTE Article Credit: NASA JPL/PlanetQuest "NASA's Kepler Telescope Discovers First Earth-Size Planet in 'Habitable Zone' ": http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2014-119 Release Date: 17 April 2014 Film Editor: Fabien Labonne. Video Credit: NASA Ames Research Center/The Mars Underground Channel.