European astronomers have discovered a planet with about the mass of the Earth orbiting a star in the Alpha Centauri system — the nearest to Earth. It is also the lightest exoplanet ever discovered around a star like the Sun. The planet was detected using the HARPS instrument on the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. The results will appear online in the journal Nature on 17 October 2012.
read more: http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1241/
2012 DA14 is an approximately 40 meter diameter asteroid that will take a close approach to Earth in early 2013. Contrary to some reports on the web, there is no danger of it hitting us during this encounter. This visualization shows the trajectory of the asteroid as computed by JPL’s HORIZONS
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Pretty picture: Enceladus, in lovely color
Feb. 6, 2012 | 13:38 PST | 21:38 UTC
Here’s an awesome picture to start off the week. The data came from Cassini’s flyby of Enceladus on January 31, 2011; it was part of Cassini’s January 2012 data release. Most of the visible globe is lit by yellowish light reflected first from Saturn; only a thin crescent receives sunlight. At bottom center, Enceladus’ south polar plumes erupt into space. They are back-lit by the Sun. As usual for awesome Cassini color photos posted here, this one was processed by Gordan Ugarkovic.
The Pillars of Creation no longer exist. In 2007, the astronomers announced that they were destroyed about 6,000 years ago by the shock wave from a supernova.Because of the limited speed of light, the shock wave’s approach to the pillars can currently be seen from Earth, but their actual destruction will not be visible for another millennium.