YAHOO.COM - A possible alien planet discovered by NASA's
Kepler space telescope is the most Earth-like world yet detected beyond
our solar system, scientists say.
With a radius that is just 1.5 times that of Earth, the potential planet is what a so-called "super-Earth,"
meaning it is just slightly larger than the Earth. The candidate
planet orbits a star similar to the sun at a distance that falls within
the "habitable zone" — the region where liquid water could exist on the
planet's surface. Scientists say the planet, if confirmed, could be a
prime candidate to host alien life.
"This was very exciting because it's our fist habitable-zone super
Earth around a sun-type star," astronomer Natalie Batalha, a Kepler
co-investigator at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.,
said Tuesday (Jan. 8) here at the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
The find could be the closest so far to an Earth twin beyond the solar system, she said. The object's host star is a G-type star just slightly cooler than our own sun. [17 Billion Earths in the Milky Way (Infographic)]
"It's orbiting a star that's very much like our sun," Batalha added.
"Previously the ones we saw were orbiting other types of stars."
The object takes 242 days to orbit its star (compared to Earth's 365
days) and is about three-quarters of the Earth-sun distance from its
parent. The Earth orbits 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from
the sun on average, a distance known as 1 astronomical unit.
"It's a big deal," astrophysicist Mario Livio, of the Space Telescope
Science Institute in Baltimore, told SPACE.com. "It's definitely a good
candidate for life."
Based on its characteristics, the possible planet may or may not be
rocky, but it certainly has the possibility of liquid water.
"Maybe there's no land life, but perhaps very clever dolphins," Livio joked.
The possible planet is called KOI 172.02 (KOI stands for Kepler Object
of Interest, a designation assigned to all planet candidates found by
the telescope until they are confirmed as planets). The discovery was
announced at the meeting Monday (Jan. 7) by Christopher Burke of the
SETI Institute as part of a batch of 461 new planet candidates found by Kepler.
Kepler finds potential planets by looking for periodic dips in the
brightness of stars caused by planets passing in front of them, blocking
some of their light. Astronomers have multiple ways to confirm that
these candidates are actual planets, such as looking for small
variations in the timing of the planets' passes in front of stars caused
by the gravitational tug of other planets in the system.
Kepler launched in 2009 and was recently granted an extended mission
until at least 2016. The telescope has detected 2,740 candidate planets
thus far. While just 105 of them have been confirmed to date, Kepler
scientists estimate that more than 90 percent will end up being the real
"There is no better way to kick off the start of the Kepler extended
mission than to discover more possible outposts on the frontier of
potentially life-bearing worlds," Burke said in a statement.
Thursday, August 28 2014 8:46 PM EDT2014-08-29 00:46:58 GMT
PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - 61 cottages sites on Priest Lake were auctioned off in Coeur d'Alene on Thursday. >>
PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - 61 cottages sites on Priest Lake were auctioned off in Coeur d'Alene on Thursday. For years, those already living on the sites leased the land from the State of Idaho, but the State was looking to sell. Residents already living on the sites showed up on Thursday to buy them back, and many were successful.
Friday, August 29 2014 10:29 AM EDT2014-08-29 14:29:39 GMT
KHQ.COM - When Shanee Gibson Hart of Fort Lewis, Washington, shared the news about her pregnancy with her son, Tré, she thought he would be thrilled. Instead, his reaction was a little different than expected. "This is exasperating!" Tré exclaimed. "Why you want to get another baby?...That doesn't make no sense!">>
KHQ.COM - When Shanee Gibson Hart of Fort Lewis, Washington, shared the news about her pregnancy with her son, Tré, she thought he would be thrilled. Instead, his reaction was a little different than expected. "This is exasperating!" Tré exclaimed. "Why you want to get another baby?...That doesn't make no sense!" >>
Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:50 PM EDT2014-08-28 02:50:23 GMT
PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - After years of obstacles for 61 Priest Lake lot lessees, the end comes on Thursday, August 28th. >>
PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - After years of obstacles for 61 Priest Lake lot lessees, the end comes on Thursday, August 28th. People who have been leasing land from the state, some more than 40 years, will find out if they get to keep their property in an auction.Back in 2010, the State of Idaho decided to divest more than 300 lake lots on Priest Lake. >>