In the search for stars that can support Earth-like planets, red dwarfs in our galactic neighborhood may lead the way to discovery. Recent research reveals red dwarf stars might host more habitable planets in close orbits than previously thought - just as long as its exoplanets huddle in close enough for light (but not so close that molten lava blankets the surface).
In 2008, an image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope showed the world one of the first directly imaged extrasolar planets, 25 light years away in a system resembling the all-seeing Eye of Sauron, in the giant disk of debris surrounding a young star called Fomalhaut. But the instrument used to see the purported planet, Fomalhaut b, broke in 2007, and the team involved in the discovery couldn't replicate their results.
Carl Sagan, everyone's favourite late astronomer, would have been 78 today. We can't think of anyone who inspired so many people to love science and the universe than good old Sagan. This year, we're looking back to an interview with the scientist that appeared in our September 1972 issue. At the time, he was really stoked about Mars.
A massive cosmic cataloguing effort released a new crop of star and galaxy data last week, noting the locations and brightnesses of hundreds of thousands of objects. Now you can fly through some of them in this new video - click past the jump for a "flight through the universe."
As we move through the Information Age, it’s become increasingly apparent obstacles to future scientific discovery might not be in the collection of data, as has been the case in the past. Instead, we’ve got so much data we can’t manage it - which is why IBM has partnered with the Murchison Widefield Array radio system to help manage the data it collects about the origin of the universe.