Two Super-Earths around red dwarf K2-18

Tuesday, December 5th 2017 01:14 PM

  New research using data collected by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has revealed that a little-known exoplanet called K2-18b could well be a scaled-up version of Earth. Just as exciting, the same researchers also discovered for the first time that the planet has a neighbor. "Being able to measure the mass and density of K2-18b was tremendous, but to discover a new exoplanet was lucky and equally exciting," says lead author Ryan Cloutier, a PhD student in U of T Scarborough's Centre for Planet Science, U of T's Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Université de Montréal Institute for research on exoplanets (iREx). Both planets orbit K2-18, a red-dwarf star located about 111 light years away in the constellation Leo. When the planet K2-18b was first discovered in 2015, it was found to be orbiting within the star's habitable zone, making it an ideal candidate to have liquid surface water, a key element in harbouring conditions for life as we...

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Best Deals Going

Tuesday, December 5th 2017 12:37 PM

Highlighted items from every AstrBest deal out the Celestron NexStar SE sale?  All of them?  Honestly, the 8" SE is a deal at $999.  Portable computerized light gathering goodness.  Throw the $99 SkyPortal on the scope and control the scope from your Apple or Android smart device.onomics sale going on right now.  Eyepieces, scopes, you name it. I think the Maksutov scopes in this sale are the best deal going, well and the 4" ED refractor. Refractor100mm $649 STAFF CHOICE Maksutovs90mm $190102mm $230127mm $400150mm $680180mm $1075 Pretty much the largest "portable" SCT you can get at a great price.  The 10" LX90.  The 10" is on sale for $2099 Everything about this sale is good.  There is not one standout product that screams, "BUY ME!"  They kinda actually all scream that. Wifi, check.  EdgeHD optics, check.  Self Aligment, check.  Save $300, double check.  The 8" EdgeHD evolution provides you with the best o...

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SURPRISE! Something Coming Soon + Top Holiday Picks

Monday, December 4th 2017 04:22 PM

It's already that time of year...AGAIN! As we always like to do, we've asked a few of our Meade Employees to tell us what their favorite product is and why. Think of this as a Holiday Gift Guide from yours truly. Stuck on what to buy for the Holiday? Scroll down below and check out a few options that might strike your fancy. Happy reading and happy shopping. And most importantly, HAPPY HOLIDAYS from everyone here at Meade! COMING SOON Want to win our GRAND PRIZE PACKAGE of an ETX90 Observer Telescope, Series 4000 Eyepiece & Filter Set & a Smart Phone Adapter? Help us reach our of goal of 10K Followers on Instagram by following us and tagging your friends in the comments for this post. The more you tag, the better! Once we hit 10K Followers, we will be selecting a random winner for our Grand Prize. So click the button below to go to our Instagram now and get entered to win!

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Geminid Meteor Shower: Dust From an Asteroid

Thursday, November 30th 2017 03:25 PM

The Geminids usually put on a dazzling display that wows skywatchers around the world. Find out when, where and how to see this year's display, and check out amazing Geminid meteor photos by stargazers.   The Geminids are a meteor shower that happens every December. NASA says astronomers consider it one of the "best and most reliable" showers of the year, but the shower actually did not start occurring until very recently (in astronomical and human terms).     First reports of the shower emerged in the mid-1800s, but at the time there were only 10-20 meteors per hour. These days, it's more like 120 meteors at the peak. Astronomers are puzzled about the number of meteors observed. While scientists have known for a generation about the source of the shower – an asteroid named 3200 Phaethon – the volume of the shower's meteors is strange given the observed amount of debris. Clouded origins The Geminids appear to come from the constel...

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What Is a Supermoon?

Thursday, November 30th 2017 12:09 PM

A supermoon happens when the full moon coincides with the moon's closest approach to Earth in its orbit. Supermoons make the moon appear a little brighter and closer than normal, although the difference is hard to spot with the naked eye. The next supermoon (the only one of 2017) will happen on Dec. 3. The term "supermoon" has only been used in the past 40 years, but it received a slew of attention in late 2016 when three supermoons occurred in a row. The supermoon of November 2016 was also the closest supermoon in 69 years, although a closer supermoon will rise in the 2030s.    Mike Boening, an urban photographer and photography instructor in Detroit, Michigan took this photo on Dec. 13, 2016. Credit: Mike Boening A supermoon happens when the full moon coincides with the moon's closest approach to Earth in its orbit. Supermoons make the moon appear a little brighter and closer than normal, although the difference is hard to spot with the naked eye. T...

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Take Slooh's 'Supermoon Challenge' This Week

Wednesday, November 29th 2017 10:09 AM

If you've got plans to celebrate this weekend's supermoon, the astronomy broadcasting service Slooh would like to hear about them.    Slooh is soliciting your ideas for its "Supermoon Challenge," an interactive event that will complement its online coverage of the supermoon this Sunday (Dec. 3) at   "So, what are you doing this supermoon?" Slooh representatives wrote in a statement. "Send your video, written thoughts, audio recordings, show or tell us how you are capturing the moon magic with #supermoonchallenge on Twitter and Facebook, and/or email us at" The "supermoon" of Nov. 13, 2016, seen from the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. Credit: Mélanie Barboni Slooh's supermoon show, featuring live telescope views of Earth's nearest neighbor, will air Sunday at 9 p.m. EST (0200 GMT on Monday, Dec. 4). You can watch it at or here at, courtesy of Slooh,...

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The Savings Continue!

Wednesday, November 29th 2017 09:49 AM

 In the last few decades, cosmologists have converged on a description of the birth and development of our Universe that is very successful at explaining what we have discovered using telescopes and scientific probes. But the description is not yet complete. To explain decades of astrophysical observations, it posits two mysterious new components: Dark Matter and Dark Energy, which are thought to comprise 96 percent of the combined total of mass and energy in the Universe. However now, a University of Geneva researcher has shown that the accelerating expansion of the universe and the movement of the stars in the galaxies can be explained without drawing on the concepts of Dark Matter and Dark Energy... And that these two imaginary entities may not actually exist. (Image Credit: NASA)   A University of Geneva researcher has recently shown that the accelerating expansion of the Universe and the movement of the stars in galaxies can be explained without drawing on the concepts...

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Particles split in the hot belly of a lightning bolt. Radioactive particles decay in the afterglow. Gamma rays rain down to Earth. Teruaki Enoto, a physicist at Kyoto University in Japan, proved for the first time, in a paper published Nov. 23, that lightning bolts work as natural particle accelerators. Enoto and his co-authors' results confirm for the first time speculation dating back to 1925 about this phenomenon. Back then, scientists suggested that energized, radioactive particles might zip through the booms and flashes of a thunderstorm. Those particles emit energy at precise wavelengths, which Enoto and colleagues are the first to detect. [Electric Earth: Stunning Images of Lightning] Here's what that means:     When lighting strikes, electrons shoot screamingly fast between clouds and Earth's surface (or between two clouds). But the particles don't travel through empty space. Along the way, they crash again and again into atmospheri...

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Mars Has a Tangled Magnetic Tail

Monday, November 27th 2017 12:44 PM

Mars' complex magnetic field environment is detailed in this artist's illustration. "Yellow lines represent magnetic field lines from the Sun carried by the solar wind, blue lines represent Martian surface magnetic fields, white sparks are reconnection activity, and red lines are reconnected magnetic fields that link the surface to space via the Martian magnetotail," NASA officials said. Credit: Anil Rao/Univ. of Colorado/MAVEN/NASA GSFC Mars' magnetic field stands apart in the solar system because it gets twisted by interactions with solar particles, a NASA spacecraft discovered. What's more, the Red Planet also could have lost its atmosphere through the same process. Mars today has a thin carbon dioxide atmosphere, and the pressure on the surface is too low for water to flow. But the planet's environment was different in the ancient past: Rovers and spacecraft have seen extensive evidence of rivers, ancient stream beds and possible oceans. While researchers are st...

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