Astraeus Leonid

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5 Sky Events This Week: Comet Brightens, Mercury Meets Venus

As a new year dawns, watch a comet burn and the stars turn.<p>Happy New Year! As a bright comet blazes across the sky, familiar friends from mythology parade for sky-watchers this week, making stately strides among the stars.<p><b>Gemini's arc.</b> As darkness falls on Monday, January 5, look for the waning …

Astronomy

Kepler 438b: Most Earth-like planet ever discovered could be home for alien life

An alien world that orbits a distant star in the constellation of Lyra may be the most Earth-like planet ever found outside the solar system.<p>The planet, named Kepler 438b, is slightly larger than Earth and circles an orange dwarf star that bathes it in 40% more heat than our home planet receives …

Planetary Habitability

Still haunting: Hubble updates classic image of 'Pillars of Creation'

One of the most famous images in astronomy is known as the "Pillars of Creation," but a new version of it reveals that it could also be called "Pillars of Destruction."<p>The images depict three towering columns of gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula, a stellar nursery about 6,500 light-years away from …

Kepler finds two planets with a striking resemblance to Earth

Welcome to the family! Scientists using<p>NASA’s Kepler spacecraft have confirmed at least eight new roughly Earth-sized planets sitting in the habitable zones of their host stars – two of which rival the most "Earth-like" planets found to date.<p>The discoveries, described at the American Astronomical …

Geminid Meteor Shower Should Be a Real Gem This Weekend

The shooting stars have aligned for this weekend's peak of the annual Geminid meteor shower: It's arguably the best meteor display of the year — and it reaches its height during the heart of the weekend, late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.<p>This year, the moon is at last quarter during the …