Space: the final frontier:Astronomers from NASA and the European Southern Observatory yesterday announced that four new Earth-sized exo-planets have been discovered orbiting a star about 40 light-years away from Earth! And three of the four exo-planets may contain liquid water and be able to sustain life! So it's not aliens, but it's almost the next best thing! NBC News says the star's small grouping of planets now boasts more Earth-sized worlds than any other star system discovered before --Seven exo-planets in all! The star system is organized around a red dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1. A Belgian-led team spotted all of these planets using space and ground telescopes as they passed in transit across the star. After taking lots of images and doing the maths (the technical term) the astronomers figured out the sizes, compositions and orbits of each exo-planet. (Bartha) --o--
More about the TRAPPIST-1 star system, from NBC News: --Six of the seven exo-planets have rocky compositions, and three of TRAPPIST-1's surrounding exo-planets may orbit within a habitable zone that NASA says is the "holy grail for planet-hunting." They could be warm enough to host surface water and oceans. --The four newly-discovered exo-planets join three others circling TRAPPIST-1 that were discovered by the same team early in 2016. --The TRAPPIST-1 star has only about eight percent of the total mass of our own sun. That makes this red dwarf star much smaller and cooler than our own sun. --All seven planets that surround TRAPPIST-1 orbit very tightly: A single year (one revolution around its sun) would pass by in a matter of weeks. The innermost planet goes around its sun in just 36 hours! Editor's notes: Good news! We might have a planet we can escape to when we're done screwing up this one. --A star system with a red sun? We've found Krypton! (Bartha)# # #
Guilty Pleasures:There was just one winning ticket sold for Wednesday night's $403 million ($243.9 million cash value) Powerball Lottery drawing, sold in Indiana. The jackpot is the 10th largest in the game's history. Winning numbers: 10, 13, 28, 52, 61; powerball: 2. There were also a $2-million winner in New Jersey and $1-million match-five winners in Kansas, Massachusetts, New York and Texas. Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington DC and the U-S Virgin Islands. Chances of winning the grand prize (all five numbers plus the powerball) are one in 292.2 million.
I'm sure I don't want one of these for Breakfast!