This Is Big: Scientists Just Found Earth’s First-Cousin

Right now, 500 light years away from Earth, there’s a planet that looks a lot like our own. It is bathed in dim orangeish light, which at high noon is only as bright as the golden hour before sunset back home. 

NASA scientists are calling the planet Kepler-186f, and it’s unlike anything they’ve found. The big news: Kepler-186f is the closest relative to the Earth that researchers have discovered. 

It’s the first Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of another star—the sweet spot between too-hot Mercury-like planets and too-cold Neptunes— and it is likely to give scientists their first real opportunity to seek life elsewhere in the universe. “It’s no longer in the realm of science fiction,” said Elisa Quintana, a researcher at the SETI Institute. 

But if there is indeed life on Kepler-186f, it may not look like what we have here. Given the redder wavelengths of light on the planet, vegetation there would sprout in hues of yellow and orange instead of green.

Read more. [Image: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech]


Total Lunar Eclipse (April 15, 2014) | Matthew Crowley

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via curlspuyol | © ktt


A stunning photograph of northern lights seen from the International Space Station


NGC 5972 by geckzilla on Flickr.


Astrophotography processed by Oliver Czernetz using HLA (Hubble Legacy Archive) data:

NGC1805; The Heart Nebula, NGC602; a young, bright open cluster in the Small Magellanic Cloud, and NGC2264; the Cone Region

These are a few of my favourite things + nebulas 


cosmic explosions


GJ 504 b: Pretty in Pink

For those of you who love the color pink, you might enjoy a recent discovery in the world of astronomy. NASA scientists have discovered a gas giant planet around four times the size of Jupiter, 57 light years away from Earth. The large exoplanet, which orbits the Sun-like star; 59 Virginis (GJ 504), is making scientists question prior theories about planetary formation. Also, did we mention it is pink?

Read more about this fascinating planet here:

Image Credit: BeeSadie on DeviantArt



Black Hole bending light.

this is fucking terrifying


Cosmic Quiver: Saturn’s Vibrations Create Spirals in Rings

( —Astronomers know that gravity from Saturn’s various moons tug at the planet’s rings and make spirals in them. But the catalyst for certain spiral patterns has been difficult to pin down. Now, two Cornell astronomers have determined the source: Saturn itself.

The entire planet can vibrate like a bell within periods of a few hours, and these oscillations cause gravitational tugs that, in turn, create the in the rings. The cause of the vibrations remains unknown.

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