Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Science: Marketing Science and Miracle Camera

Does science need a marketing effort? Read about the Rock Stars of Science.

In early 2009, a team of astronauts visited Hubble to repair the wear and tear of twenty years of operating in a hostile environment - and to install two new instruments, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, and Wide Field Camera 3 - better known as WFC3.

Astronomers have detected nearly 500 planets orbiting stars in our cosmic neighbourhood, but none outside our Milky Way has been confirmed. Now, however, a planet weighing at least 1.25 times as much as Jupiter has been discovered orbiting a star of extragalactic origin, even though the star now finds itself within our own galaxy.

The star, which is known as HIP 13044, lies about 2000 light-years from Earth and is part of the so-called Helmi stream. This stream of stars originally belonged to a dwarf galaxy, which was devoured by our Milky Way in an act of galactic cannibalism six to nine billion years ago.

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