Alien worlds: the most outstanding astronomical discoveries 2013




Alien worlds: the most outstanding astronomical discoveries 2013

Despite the fact that in the past year astronomers have been unable to find a suitable alternative Earth, they discovered many interesting planets located outside our solar system. Below is a list of the most impressive discoveries of extrasolar planets in 2013, from the world of tiny size of the moon and ending with blue gas giant, where freezing rain are commonplace.

The smallest exoplanet


In February, astronomers announced the discovery of Kepler-37B , the smallest planet orbiting a star similar to our sun. Discovered the planet was a little more natural satellite of the Earth – Diameter Kepler-37b is about 3900 km.

Kepler-37b, discovered space telescope Kepler, is located about 215 light years from Earth. Due to the proximity to its star planet has excessively high surface temperature, which makes it unsuitable for life. Kepler-37b orbiting its parent star in 13 days.
The most Earth-like planets

This year, the researchers found a twin Earth . Kepler-78b has a similar size and composition, but it’s too hot for life to exist.


Kepler-78b is only 20 per cent larger in diameter and about 80 percent heavier than the Earth. Planets have almost the same density. Kepler-78b is removed from the earth at a distance of about 400 light-years. Its orbit around the parent star exoplanet passes in 8.5 hours. Scientists estimate that the surface temperature of Kepler-78b reaches 2,000 degrees Celsius.
1000 extrasolar planets

The first exoplanet was discovered in 1992. Two decades later, their number exceeded one thousand . In 2013, his first thousand celebrated two of the five exoplanets directories – this Encyclopedia extrasolar planets (Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia) and catalog of exoplanets (Exoplanets Catalog), which leads Laboratory of the habitability of planets at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo. At the time of writing, these databases were registered in 1056 exoplanets.


The other three databases, NASA Exoplanet Archive, Exoplanet Orbit Database and Open Exoplanet Catalog, counted at 976, 756 and 973 exoplanets, respectively. The difference in numbers indicates uncertainty in the detection and confirmation of exoplanets.
The first map of cloud cover on exoplanet

In 2013, astronomers have created the first map of the clouds on the planet outside the solar system. Watching the gas giant Kepler-7b using NASA Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer for more than three years, the researchers found the region, reflecting the sun’s rays, which they took to the clouds.


The western part of the atmosphere Kepler-7b covered with clouds, while in the east they are not. Discovered in 2010, the size of the planet is 1.5 times larger than Jupiter, and mass inferior to him almost in half.
Two potentially habitable water world

In April, scientists discovered a solar system in two potentially habitable planets – Kepler-62E and Kepler-62F . Extrasolar planets slightly larger than Earth’s oceans are completely covered. The researchers noted that this is a very good place to look for extraterrestrial life.

kepler-62 system
The smallest extrasolar planet directly photographed

Using the Japanese Subaru telescope in Hawaii, astronomers got a picture of the planet GJ 504b , a gas giant about the size of Jupiter. Despite its huge size, it is the smallest instance that could be observed directly.


According to experts, in the next 10-20 years, scientists finally be able to photograph a planet similar to Earth.
“Alien Worlds” next

A study published earlier this year, suggests that the second Earth is 13 light years from our solar system – very close by cosmic standards.


Analysis of data from the Kepler space telescope, showed that six percent of red dwarfs (up about 75 percent of the 100 billion stars in the Milky Way) should have in their systems Earth-like planets . This in turn means that our galaxy is fraught with at least 4.5 billion twin Earth.
Blue Planet glass rains


Giant planet HD 189733b was discovered in 2005, but the most interesting fact revealed later. In 2013, astronomers first saw the true color of this planet . Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope have shown that HD 189733b has a blue color, which, as scientists assume, part glass rains and strong winds, raging on the planet with daytime temperatures near 900 degrees Celsius .
Most distant from its star-like exoplanet

Another interesting finding in this year’s gas giant called HD 106906 b , which is located on any known science planet from its star. Extrasolar planet with a mass of about 11 Jupiter masses distant from its star at a distance of 650 times the average distance from the Earth to the Sun (our planet from the Sun at 150 million kilometers).

HD 106906 b

This discovery may force scientists to reconsider some of the theories about the formation of planets and stars, as none of the existing models can not fully explain the phenomenon of finding such a huge planet on such a wide orbit.
Three potentially habitable planets around a single star


In 2013, astronomers have also discovered the first extra solar system with three planets in the habitable zone, which suggests the existence on the surface of water in liquid form. In June, it was discovered that the star Gliese 667C drawn at least six exoplanets, three of which are “super-Earths” (planets with masses larger than Earth) and are capable of supporting life in the form in which we are accustomed to see her.
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Tags: Astronomy , Extraterrestrial life , Exoplanets .

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