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Astronomers have analyzed newly forming Planets.
Astronomers have analyzed the dusty discs of newly forming planets around other stars, and have discovered that rocky planets (like our own Earth) form much further from their parent stars than previous theories suggested. Protoplanetary dust that gets to close to its parent star completely evaporates, and never gets the chance to clump together into larger objects. The team made these new, more precise measurements using powerful instruments like the Hubble Space Telescope and the giant Keck Observatory.
Two amateur Astronomers from New Zealand, working with a team of Astronomers from around the world have helped to discover an extrasolar planet 15,000 light years from Earth. They used a technique known as gravitational microlensing, which occurs when a massive object (like a star or even a black hole) passes in front of a more distant star; its gravity bends and focuses light like a lens. The team noticed that the closer star had a strange pattern of distortion to its light that indicated a planet. This method could be used to find much smaller, even Earth-sized, planets.
A Russian Proton rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Sunday, carrying the DIRECTV 8 broadcast satellite into orbit. The rocket launched at 1759 UTC (1:59 p.m. EDT), and the Breeze M upper stage continued to place it into a geosynchronous transfer orbit 9 hours and 15 minutes later. DIRECTV 8 will augment the existing broadcast satellites stationed above 101 degrees west longitude.
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