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NASA's Kepler mission announced Wednesday the discovery of 715 new planets. These newly-verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system.

Nearly 95 percent of these planets are smaller than Neptune, which is almost four times the size of Earth. This discovery marks a significant increase in the number of known small-sized planets more akin to Earth than previously identified exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system. 

comparison of europa color images(Above) Comparison of Europa observed with Gemini Planet Imager in K1 band on the right and visible albedo visualization based on a composite map made from Galileo SSI and Voyager 1 and 2 data (from USGS) on the left. While GPI is not designed for ‘extended’ objects like this, its observations could help in following surface alterations on icy satellites of Jupiter or atmospheric phenomena (e.g.

Berkeley — Most stars in the galaxy are surrounded by swirling disks of dust, circling planets or other orbiting stars, yet astronomers have a hard time studying these companions because of glare from the main star.

Peter Inspecting Meteors
Jennikens and Popova examine meteor fragments, credit: P. Jenniskens

Peter Jenniskens and international scientists for the first time have gathered a detailed understanding of the effects on Earth from a small asteroid impact. 

kepler planet candidatesimage credit: NASA

Scientists from around the world are gathered this week at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., for the second Kepler Science Conference, where they will discuss the latest findings resulting from the analysis of Kepler Space Telescope data. 

Neptune’s tiny, innermost moon, Naiad, has now been seen for the first time since it was discovered by Voyager’s cameras in 1989. Dr. Mark Showalter, a senior research scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, announced the result today in Denver, Colorado, at the annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society. He and collaborators Dr.

Combining observations from the world’s largest telescopes with small telescopes used by amateur astronomers, a team of astronomers discovered that the large main-belt asteroid (87) Sylvia has a complex interior, probably linked to the way the multiple system was formed. The findings are being revealed today at the 45th annual Division of Planetary Sciences meeting in Denver, Colorado.

Authored by Space Scientist Dr. Pascal Lee; Available Exclusively Through Scholastic Reading Club in October and at Bookstores Nationwide in November

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Mountain View — NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a new moon orbiting the distant blue-green planet Neptune, the 14th known to be circling the giant planet.

The moon, designated S/2004 N 1, is estimated to be no more than 12 miles across, making it the smallest known moon in the Neptunian system. It is so small and dim that it is roughly 100 million times fainter than the faintest star that can be seen with the naked eye. It even escaped detection by NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft, which flew past Neptune in 1989 and surveyed the planet's system of moons and rings.

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