Astronomers said Monday that NASA's Kepler spacecraft has discovered a far-off planet that orbits its Sun-like star at just the right distance to support life. Kepler-22b is about 2.4 times bigger than Earth and is located 600 light-years away from our planet.
"We're getting closer and closer to discovering the so-called 'Goldilocks planet,'" said Pete Worden, director of NASA's Ames Research Center, according to Space.com, referring to a habitable planet that is "just right" in meeting all the requirements for life.
Kepler-22b is pleasantly warm, with an average surface temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit, according to researchers. It orbits its star at the right distance for liquid water to exist.
The Kepler spacecraft has discovered 2,326 potential planets just 16 months into its planet-hunting mission. If those discoveries are confirmed, it brings the total number of planets scientists have discovered outside of our solar system to four times the 700 or so that were known to exist prior to Kepler's mission.
Checking out the sky is fun, but you could be frozen by the time you find what you were looking for. Meade’s EXT-LS telescope, with Advanced Coma-Free (ACF) optics for a better picture, has a computerized scope that will automatically locate the star, moon, planet or star you are seeking. Once it is locked in with LightSwitch technology, you can take photos with its built-in camera or check out audio and video clips. The EXT-LS can find over 500 objects and is available for $1,299.00.
Read More | Meade
We were looking around to find you a fitting gift for today, and we found something that our readers can share and it doesn’t cost a cent. Beginning tonight, Venus, Jupiter and the crescent moon will join together. By Monday, they will be about 2º apart (about a finger’s width at arms length.) Check out the southwestern sky at twilight. You won’t even need a telescope or binoculars. Miss it and you will have to wait until Nov. 18, 2052 for the next occurrence, although Venus and the moon will pair up again New Year’s Eve.
(P.S. Happy Turkey Day!)
Read More | USA Today
Meade has added to its family of telescopes with mySky. The point-and-shoot device features a 480 x 234 display, a 12 channel GPS receiver for auto alignment, electronic accelerometers for direction finding, and magnetic North sensors. It has audio to match what you are seeing, so it is like having your own planetarium. With powersaving capability, it will last up to six hours with its 4 x AA (not included) batteries, storage with an included 256MB SD card, and earbuds. Check out Mead’s site for a nice video clip of the mySky at work.
Read More | mySky Product Page
We suppose that Google is not satisfied with its new Sky, but then again maybe they have just gone a tad space loony. The company has offered a $30 million reward to the first private company that sends a robotic rover to the moon and sends back a gigabyte of images.
Partnered with the X Prize Foundation, who hosted the contest that sent non-astronauts into space, Google says that the rules involve the device traveling at least 1,312 feet across the surface and having high-def video and still cameras to send self-portraits, panoramic views, and near-real time videos. More details will become available during the WIRED Nextfest in LA this week.
Read More | ABC
Who needs a planetarium when you can explore the Google Sky? With it you can view 200 million galaxies, 100 million stars, constellations, a supernova, and planets in motion. You can also see the heavens with over 120 high-res images from NASA’s Hubble telescope. All you need is a download of the current Google Earth, then click on the Sky button on the toolbar. Available in 13 languages, check out the Gallery and discover space from different sources on Earth. We think we would like to experience the Milky Way from Paris, even if it is only on our PC.
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If you want to keep an eye on our planet and everything that is going on around it, you might consider this Richard Mille Planetarium-Tellurium. It features the rotation of Earth and those of the moon, Mercury, Venus, and the sun. It has year, month, day, hour and minute indications with its perpetual calendar, and will display the seasons, equinoxes, solstices, and zodiac signs. Made of titanium, steel, brass, gold, silver, and red corundum, this is a one of a kind device with its asking price in seven figures, but you can catch it on display next month at the Temple of Time in Singapore if you happen to be going that way.
Read More | Watchismo
We speak with Celestron about their SkyScout product, an awesome tool used for stargazing that identifies stars, constellations, and planets by way of GPS and gravitational magnets. Great for beginners and pros alike. We love the concept here, and think the SkyScout is genious, as it even incorporates games and trivia once it thinks you have your astronomical bearings down. Seriously, lots of fun to be had here. Check the video for the full scoop.