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European Southern Observatory

  1. Nearby Star Hosts Three Super-Earths in Habitable Zone

    A closer look at a star once thought to hold no more mysteries reveals a treasure trove of exoplanets.

    An international team of researchers and astronomers  have found what could be the motherlode of habitable exoplanets in a nearby star system. According to a new examination of the data, researchers believe the nearby star Gliese 667C -- found just 22 light years away in the constellation Scorpius -- hosts six planets. That's twice as many bodies as the star was thought to be home to, but that's not the big news. The big news is that three of the planets orbiting Gliese 667C are thought to be in the habitable zone, capable of hosting liquid water, and possibly able to support life.

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  2. The Brightest Space Object Ever Discovered [Video]

    A quasar, a space object that emits extremely high amounts of energy, that is both the farthest and the brightest ever recorded has been discovered by the European Southern Observatory. It is believed that quasars contain black holes, and this one is powered by a black hole at its center that is two billion times the size of the sun. The brightest phenomena that are observed in space include gamma-ray bursts and galaxies in the redshifts, but the light emitted by the quasar far surpasses any of these other events.

    The quasar has been named ULAS J1120+0641, and researchers estimate based on the amount of time it would take for the light form the quasar to reach earth, that it may be 12.9 billion years old. The quasar was discovered at five years of searching through a database of images generated by the European UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS), using the UK's dedicated infrared telescope in HI. The findings were published in the journal Nature.

    (via Hacker News)

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