Friday, April 12

Astronomy

A couple years ago, I was part of the team that discovered the first Earth-sized planet, Kepler-186f, rotating comfortably in its star’s “habitable zone,” where water can be liquid. Its sun, Kepler 186, is faint and far away from us—and a little colder than we’d like if we were to settle there—but it does have […]

What would our solar system look like if an alien were to spot it from another planet, orbiting a distant star? How improbable would it appear? For the first time in human history, thanks to advances in exoplanet hunting, we can now answer that question. We can even put numbers on it. If that alien […]

When you observe a solar eclipse—with great care, of course—what you see is a thin, red crescent outlining the blocked-out Sun and, extending beyond it, a stark white mane. This is the corona, an aura millions of miles thick of superheated plasma. It’s natural to assume the corona is cooler than the sun’s blazing surface. […]

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