Showing posts from October, 2012

Out There: Discovery Rekindles Wish for a Journey to the Stars

Source:  Dennis Overbye, New York Times Excerpt:  The discovery last week of an Earth-like planet circling Alpha Centauri B "set off an epidemic of daydreaming among the astronomical and sci-fi set," including Sara Seager, an MIT astronomer, who repeated a call made last year by Berkeley astronomer Geoff Marcy that "we should drop everything and send a probe there.” "But if astronomers have learned anything over the last few years from devices like the Kepler satellite, it is that small planets come in packs. There is plenty of room in the system for more planets, habitable ones." Read the full article:

NASA's Infrared Observatory Measures Expansion of Universe

Source:  NASA 12-343   Excerpt:  …Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have announced the most precise measurement yet of …the rate at which our universe is stretching apart. …It … brings the uncertainty down to 3 percent, a giant leap in accuracy for cosmological measurements.   … "Just over a decade ago, using the words 'precision' and 'cosmology' in the same sentence was not possible, and the size and age of the universe was not known to better than a factor of two," said Freedman. "Now we are talking about accuracies of a few percent." …