Tag Archive: Earth

Possible new planet discovered

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PLANET X: The solar system may be hosting a ninth planet (Credit: Caltech)

PLANET X: The solar system may be hosting a ninth planet (Credit: Caltech)

Neptune-sized planet lies beyond Pluto

The solar system may host a ninth planet, much bigger than Earth and orbiting far beyond Neptune, according to research published on Wednesday.

The planet, dubbed ‘X’,  has an estimated mass of about 10 times that of Earth and can bring the tally of planets in our solar system back to nine.

It is yet to be observed directly.

Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena said that computer simulations show that, if the mystery planet exists, it would orbit more than 50 times farther from the sun than Earth.

Professor Mike Brown, from the California Institute of Technology - who has been working on the discovery for the last two years - told ABC news: “This would be a real ninth planet.

“We noticed that the very most distant objects in our solar system ... that go out beyond Pluto they all go off in one direction, which is a very strange thing.

“It's a pretty substantial chunk of our solar system that's still out there to be found, which is pretty exciting.”

Mike Brown, whose discovery was published in this week’s Astronomical Journal, and astronomer Konstantin Batygin, also at Caltech, were initially sceptical that such a large planet would have gone undetected for so long.

The computer model predicted the location of other objects beyond Neptune, in a region known as the Kuiper Belt.

Mike Brown's earlier research helped to demote Pluto in 2006 as the solar system’s ninth planet after other small bodies were found beyond Neptune.

Since ancient times, only two planets, Uranus and Neptune, have been discovered in our solar system.

Mike Brown said: “All those people who are mad that Pluto is no longer a planet can be thrilled to know that there is a real planet out there still to be found.”


First official UK astronaut Tim Peake shoots into space

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 BUZZ LIGHTYEAR: Tim goes to infinity, and beyond

BUZZ LIGHTYEAR: Tim goes to infinity, and beyond

 Rocket man Tim Peake is setting his sights on fantastic view of Earth 

UK astronaut Tim Peake has made his landmark flight to the International Space Station (ISS) this week.

The ex-helicopter pilot - with American Tim Kopra and Russian Yuri Malenchenko - shot into the sky on Tuesday 15th December on a Russian Soyuz rocket at Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan.

Mr Peake has become the first official UK astronaut. Previous ‘British’ astronauts have either had US citizenship, worked for Nasa or have been privately funded.

On the ISS he will conduct experiments and carry out educational activities designed to get young people interested in science.

Asian Express decided to conduct some research into how many Muslims have been to space and it turns out there have been nine previously.

Saudi Prince, Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, was the first after flying on Discovery in 1985. 

Anousheh Ansari was the first Iranian woman in space. In 2006 she was asked what she hoped to achieve from going into space.

She said: “I hope to inspire everyone—especially young people, women, and young girls all over the world, and in Middle Eastern countries that do not provide women with the same opportunities as men—to not give up their dreams and to pursue them... It may seem impossible to them at times.

“But I believe they can realize their dreams if they keep it in their hearts, nurture it, and look for opportunities and make those opportunities happen.”


Blood supermoon

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Blood supermoon (800x585)

People still associate astronomical phenomena with the apocalypse

The Earth experienced a rare blood supermoon and lunar eclipse combo on 27th September.

The supermoon total lunar eclipse comes about when a supermoon – which occurs when the moon reaches its closest point to the earth due to its elliptical orbit – coincides with the almost perfect alignment of the moon, earth and sun, with our planet blocking the light from the star in our solar system.

The moon will have a red tinge, and will appear brighter and 14 per cent larger as a result of the perfect timing of the astronomical events.

However, as with many astronomical phenomena, an end-of-the-world prediction is accompanying the rare occurrence – there have only been five examples since the early 1900s when they came about every 18 years (1910, 1928, 1946, 1964, and 1982) until a 33-year break prior to the one at the end of September.

The Blood Moon Prophecy was first predicted by Christian minister Mark Biltz in 2008 and then echoed by John Hagee in 2014, who said that the blood moon acts as a type of omen and originates from the Book of Joel, which reads: "The sun will turn into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes."

But it's not the first apocalyptic prediction. In fact, we have had to ignore nine since the turn of the decade. All of which were obviously wrong.

So why do people still believe that the end is nigh despite numerous wrongful predictions over the years? Dr Max Blumberg, a psychologist said: "Generally, psychologists would delve into the human condition going back two million years and the classic argument is that although society and culture have evolved over this period, our brain hasn't.

“Our brains were formed at a time, when we were probably running around with not a lot on.

"One of the answers could be that people believe in the end of the world, not because it's been programmed into our brain, but because they feel under pressure. We're living in very uncertain times and human beings like certainty."

He adds that humans respond best to certainty, and that testing times could be the reason that people continue to believe when they hear of an apocalypse.