“World of Two Suns”–Kepler-47 System So Compact Would Fit Inside Earth’s Orbit

Binary Stars


The Kepler-47 planetary system is an example of the diversity of solar systems outside our own. Despite having two “suns,” the entire system is so compact that it would fit inside the orbit of Earth. A team of astronomers from the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, discovered a third planet in the system approximately 3,340 light-years away in the direction of the constellation Cygnus.


“Proof?” –‘Oumuamua-Like’ Interstellar Object Struck Earth in 2014

Oumuamua Interstellar Object


Interstellar meteors may be common, and could potentially help life travel from star to star throughout the Milky Way, according to Harvard astronomer’s Amir Siraj and Avi Loeb who report that they have uncovered possible evidence of an extrasolar object striking the Earth back in 2014 from their study of the Center for Near-Earth Object database. They were searching the data for telltale objects that traveled faster than normal, suggesting that it was likely ejected out of an alien star system.


Cassini’s Last Flyby –“Titan’s Mystery World of Liquid Hydrocarbons”



“Every time we make discoveries on Titan, Titan becomes more and more mysterious,” said Marco Mastrogiuseppe, Cassini radar scientist at Caltech in Pasadena, California. “It is as if you looked down on the Earth’s North Pole and could see that North America had completely different geologic setting for bodies of liquid than Asia does,” added Jonathan Lunine, Director of the Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science at Cornell University.


“Really Clear Signals” –Nearby Star System Harbors Earth-Sized Planet

TESS Exoplanet


“There was quite some detective work involved, and the right people were there at the right time,” said lead author Diana Dragomir of MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research about the discovery of a nearby system that hosts the first Earth-sized planet by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanets Survey Satellite (TESS). “But we were lucky, and we caught the signals, and they were really clear.”


“The Last Photon Orbit” –Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole ‘On Deck’ for the EHT

Supermassive Black Hole


When it’s completed, the picture of the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), is an image sure to equal the famous “Earthrise” photo taken by Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders in December 1968. The obvious target for the Event Horizon Telescope, the team hopes to get imagery of our supermassive black hole soon, said Shep Doeleman, Director, Event Horizon Telescope following last week’s release of the first ever image of Galaxy M87’s gargantuan black hole.


“Ocean’s Nixed” –MIT Researchers Finds New Environment for Earth’s First Life


Ocean Waves


“Our overall message is, if you think the origin of life required fixed nitrogen, as many people do, then it’s tough to have the origin of life happen in the ocean,” says Sukrit Ranjan at MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS).


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