Neptune and Company

Lakewood, CO, United States

Neptune and Company

Lakewood, CO, United States

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News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: phys.org

A team of international researchers, co-lead by Hannah Wakeford from NASA and Professor David Sing from the University of Exeter, has carried out one of the most detailed studies to date of a 'Warm Neptune' - a planet that is similar in size to our own Neptune, but which orbits its sun more closely. The study revealed that the exoplanet - found around 430 light years from Earth - has an atmosphere that composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium, with a relatively cloudless sky. This primitive atmosphere suggests the planet most likely formed closer to its host star or later in its solar system development, or both, compared to the Ice Giants Neptune or Uranus. Crucially, the discovery could also have wide implications for how scientists think about the birth and development of planetary systems in distant galaxies. The research is published in leading journal, Science, on May 11 2017. Professor Sing, from the University of Exeter's Astrophysics department said: "This exciting new discovery shows that there is a lot more diversity in the atmospheres of these exoplanets than we have previously thought. "This 'Warm Neptune' is a much smaller planet than those we have been able to characterize in depth, so this new discovery about its atmosphere feels like a big breakthrough in our pursuit to learn more about how solar systems are formed, and how it compares to our own." In order to study the atmosphere of the planet - named HAT-P-26b - the researchers used data collected when the planet passed in front of its host star, events known as transits. During a transit, a fraction of the starlight gets filtered through the planet's atmosphere, which absorbs some wavelengths of light but not others. By looking at how the signatures of the starlight change as a result of this filtering, researchers can work backward to figure out the chemical composition of the atmosphere. In this case, the team pooled data from four separate transits measured by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, and two seen by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The analysis provided enough detail to determine the planet's atmosphere is relatively clear of clouds and has a strong water signature - also the best measurement of water to date on an exoplanet of this size. The researchers used the water signature to estimate the metallicity, an indication of how rich the planet is in all elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. Astronomers calculate the metallicity because it gives them clues about how a planet formed. To compare planets by their metallicities, scientists use the sun as a point of reference - similar to describing how much caffeine different drinks have by comparing them to a standard cup of coffee. In our solar system, the metallicity in Jupiter (5 times greater than the sun) and Saturn (10 times) suggest these 'Gas Giants' are made almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. Neptune and Uranus, however, are richer in the heavier elements, with metallicities of about 100 times that of the sun. Scientists think this happened because, as the solar system was taking shape, Neptune and Uranus formed in a region toward the outskirts of the enormous disk of dust, gas and debris that swirled around the immature sun. As a result, they would have been bombarded with a lot of icy debris that was rich in heavier elements. Jupiter and Saturn, in contrast, formed in a warmer part of the disk and would therefore have encountered less of the icy debris. This new study However, this new study discovered that HAT-P-26b bucks the trend. The research team believes its metallicity is only about 4.8 times that of the sun - much closer to the value for Jupiter than for Neptune. Hannah Wakeford, who previously studied at the University of Exeter and is now a postdoctoral researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, led the study. Hannah said: "Astronomers have just begun to investigate the atmospheres of these distant Neptune-mass planets, and almost right away, we found an example that goes against the trend in our solar system. This kind of unexpected result is why I really love exploring the atmospheres of alien planets." Co-author Tiffany Kataria of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California added: "To have so much information about a warm Neptune is still rare, so analyzing these data sets simultaneously is an achievement in and of itself." Explore further: Finding a 'lost' planet, about the size of Neptune


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: co.newswire.com

Kensington Property’s recent acquisition of a rental apartment complex under development in Dublin is a first for the reviving Irish residential market. Opportunistic funds face fairly rough media coverage in Ireland. References to ‘vultures’ still fly well in Ireland, long after the term has fallen out of common usage elsewhere. It is notable, therefore, that news of the acquisition of the high-quality apartment project on the former golf course, off Garters lane in an affluent part of south Dublin, by Kensington Property’s Europe opportunities fund, wasn’t completely panned. On the contrary, it was 'good news' for the housing supply in Dublin, according to Donald MacDonald, director of Hooke & MacDonald. Of course, he would say that, as Hooke & MacDonald acted for Cosgrave Group, vendor of Neptune and developer of the wider NAMA-backed Honeypark scheme. But MacDonald backed up his assertion: "It is the first transaction of its kind in the Irish market whereby an entire multi-family/build-to-rent scheme has been specifically designed for this sector of the housing market and sold in advance of construction completion." Modern amenities The six-storey building is part of Cosgrave’s broader Honeypark development of the former golf course, the rest of which is not included in the transaction. Overlooking a five-acre landscaped park with a lake and a playground area, the property will consist mostly of two-bedroom apartments, with the balance made up by one- and three-bedroom units. The basement and lower ground floors of the building will provide parking for 219 vehicles. The property is designed to 'A' rating energy efficiency standard. The average unit size within the property is a generous 85 m2. On-site amenities include full concierge service, gym facilities and residents' suite. The Honeypark development includes a newly-built neighbourhood shopping centre. Supply shortage Dublin is growing and needs 12,000 new homes annually to keep pace. Less than a quarter of the target was built last year, and tighter mortgage terms for first-time buyers are driving more people to high-quality rental homes. Kensington Property and Dublin-focused partner are among a number of cross-border parties who have swooped in to feed this demand. Skerris is the first buy for the Joint Venture that aims to create 'a new and unique living alternative' under the Vert brand. The fund will seek to acquire further assets in the growing 'build-to-rent' sector as it continues to mature and suitable opportunities arise. Perhaps the case can be made: Better two nest-builders active on the ground than a carrion-eater circling overhead.


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A study combining observations from NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes reveals that the distant planet HAT-P-26b has a primitive atmosphere composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. Located about 437 light years away, HAT-P-26b orbits a star roughly twice as old as the sun. The analysis is one of the most detailed studies to date of a "warm Neptune," or a planet that is Neptune-sized and close to its star. The researchers determined that HAT-P-26b's atmosphere is relatively clear of clouds and has a strong water signature, although the planet is not a water world. This is the best measurement of water to date on an exoplanet of this size. The discovery of an atmosphere with this composition on this exoplanet has implications for how scientists think about the birth and development of planetary systems. Compared to Neptune and Uranus, the planets in our solar system with about the same mass, HAT-P-26b likely formed either closer to its host star or later in the development of its planetary system, or both. "Astronomers have just begun to investigate the atmospheres of these distant Neptune-mass planets, and almost right away, we found an example that goes against the trend in our solar system," said Hannah Wakeford, a postdoctoral researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study published in the May 12, 2017, issue of Science. "This kind of unexpected result is why I really love exploring the atmospheres of alien planets." To study HAT-P-26b's atmosphere, the researchers used data from transits-- occasions when the planet passed in front of its host star. During a transit, a fraction of the starlight gets filtered through the planet's atmosphere, which absorbs some wavelengths of light but not others. By looking at how the signatures of the starlight change as a result of this filtering, researchers can work backward to figure out the chemical composition of the atmosphere. In this case, the team pooled data from four transits measured by Hubble and two seen by Spitzer. Together, those observations covered a wide range of wavelengths from yellow light through the near-infrared region. "To have so much information about a warm Neptune is still rare, so analyzing these data sets simultaneously is an achievement in and of itself," said co-author Tiffany Kataria of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Because the study provided a precise measurement of water, the researchers were able to use the water signature to estimate HAT-P-26b's metallicity. Astronomers calculate the metallicity, an indication of how rich the planet is in all elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, because it gives them clues about how a planet formed. To compare planets by their metallicities, scientists use the sun as a point of reference, almost like describing how much caffeine beverages have by comparing them to a cup of coffee. Jupiter has a metallicity about 2 to 5 times that of the sun. For Saturn, it's about 10 times as much as the sun. These relatively low values mean that the two gas giants are made almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. The ice giants Neptune and Uranus are smaller than the gas giants but richer in the heavier elements, with metallicities of about 100 times that of the sun. So, for the four outer planets in our solar system, the trend is that the metallicities are lower for the bigger planets. Scientists think this happened because, as the solar system was taking shape, Neptune and Uranus formed in a region toward the outskirts of the enormous disk of dust, gas and debris that swirled around the immature sun. Summing up the complicated process of planetary formation in a nutshell: Neptune and Uranus would have been bombarded with a lot of icy debris that was rich in heavier elements. Jupiter and Saturn, which formed in a warmer part of the disk, would have encountered less of the icy debris. Two planets beyond our solar system also fit this trend. One is the Neptune-mass planet HAT-P-11b. The other is WASP-43b, a gas giant twice as massive as Jupiter. But Wakeford and her colleagues found that HAT-P-26b bucks the trend. They determined its metallicity is only about 4.8 times that of the sun, much closer to the value for Jupiter than for Neptune. "This analysis shows that there is a lot more diversity in the atmospheres of these exoplanets than we were expecting, which is providing insight into how planets can form and evolve differently than in our solar system," said David K. Sing of the University of Exeter and the second author of the paper. "I would say that has been a theme in the studies of exoplanets: Researchers keep finding surprising diversity." The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the Spitzer Space Telescope for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. For more information about Spitzer, visit: For images and more information about Hubble, visit:


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: www.sciencenews.org

A watery world about 430 light-years from Earth may have had a relatively calm origin. The Neptune-mass exoplanet, HAT-P-26b, has surprisingly low levels of heavy elements in its atmosphere, suggesting that it formed close to its star, researchers report in the May 12 Science. That’s different from how the ice giants in Earth’s solar system, Neptune and Uranus, formed, suggesting possible new insights into different ways planetary systems originate throughout the galaxy. “With the observations of exoplanets’ atmospheres, we are looking outward to look in,” says study coauthor Hannah Wakeford, an astronomer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Scientists mostly use computer simulations to try to understand how planetary systems form. These simulations are based, in part, on how the planets in Earth’s solar system coalesced, but it’s unclear how common these types of planetary origins are. Many Neptune-sized worlds, for instance, have orbits vastly different than the ice giants of Earth’s system. But if the abundances of heavy elements in atmospheres of exoplanets in other systems resemble the abundances for planets of similar mass closer to home, then those exoplanets were probably created in similar ways. In Earth’s solar system, more massive planets have a lower abundance of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. Neptune’s abundance of heavy elements is 100 times that of the sun. Jupiter, 18 times as massive as Neptune, has only five times the solar abundance of heavy elements. Neptune’s abundance is thought to be higher because it formed farther outward, toward the edge of the disk of dust and gas that circled the young sun. There, icy rocks accumulated, which bombarded Neptune and enriched its atmosphere with heavy elements as the rocks disintegrated. Previous studies of three exoplanets in separate planetary systems have shown a similar relationship between a planet’s mass and the abundance of heavy metals in its atmosphere. To study an exoplanet’s atmosphere, researchers watch the planet pass in front of its parent star, blocking some of the star’s light. A fraction of that starlight gets filtered by the planet’s atmosphere, which absorbs some wavelengths of light, giving clues to its composition.  Researchers using the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes to study HAT-P-26B’s atmosphere found a prominent sign of water in visible and infrared wavelengths. From that signature, the team inferred that the exoplanet’s atmospheric heavy metal abundance is only four to five times as much as the sun’s. Such a low abundance relative to Neptune’s suggests that HAT-P-26b formed nearer to its star than Neptune did to the sun. That proximity could have protected the exoplanet from bombardment by bits of icy rock. HAT-P-26b, which orbits its star in roughly four Earth days, also drew in its gas directly from the disk in which the star and planets were forming, the researchers say. Astrophysicist Adam Burrows of Princeton University says the result is a solid estimate of the heavy elements in HAT-P-26b’s atmosphere. But the data don’t yet conclusively show HAT-P-26b developed differently than the ice giants in Earth’s solar system, he says. More data in additional wavelengths would be needed to definitely describe HAT-P-26b’s history.


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A new study led by NASA with contributions from the University of Maryland reveals that the distant planet HAT-P-26b has a primitive atmosphere composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. Located about 437 light years away from Earth, HAT-P-26b orbits a star roughly twice as old as the sun. The analysis is one of the most detailed studies to date of a "warm Neptune," a planet that is Neptune-sized and orbits close to its star. By combining observations from NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, the researchers determined that HAT-P-26b's atmosphere is relatively clear of clouds and has a strong water signature, although the planet is not a water world. The study, published in the May 12, 2017 issue of the journal Science, also provides the best measurement to date of water on an exoplanet of this size. "Not too long ago, it was exciting just to find an exoplanet," said Drake Deming, a professor of astronomy at UMD and a co-author of the study. "But now, as technology and methods become more refined, we are building a whole new understanding of the wide diversity of planetary systems beyond our own. It's a very exciting time to be in this field." The discovery of such a primordial atmosphere on this Neptune-sized planet has implications for how scientists think about the birth and development of planetary systems. Compared to Neptune and Uranus, the planets in our solar system with about the same mass, HAT-P-26b likely formed either closer to its host star or later in the development of its planetary system--or a combination of both. "Astronomers have just begun to investigate the atmospheres of these distant Neptune-mass planets, and almost right away, we found an example that goes against the trend in our solar system," said Hannah Wakeford, a postdoctoral researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study. "This kind of unexpected result is why I really love exploring the atmospheres of alien planets." To study HAT-P-26b's atmosphere, the researchers used data from transits-- occasions when the planet passed in front of its host star. During a transit, a fraction of the starlight gets filtered through the planet's atmosphere, which absorbs some wavelengths of light but not others. By looking at how the signatures of the starlight change as a result of this filtering, researchers can work backward to figure out the chemical composition of the atmosphere. In this case, the team pooled data from four transits measured by Hubble and two seen by Spitzer. Together, these observations covered a wide range of wavelengths from yellow light through the near-infrared region. "To have so much information about a warm Neptune is still rare, so analyzing these data sets simultaneously is an achievement in and of itself," said co-author Tiffany Kataria of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Because the study provided a precise measurement of water, the researchers were able to use the water signature to estimate HAT-P-26b's metallicity--an indication of how rich the planet is in all elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. Astronomers calculate metallicity to provide clues about how a planet formed. To compare planets by their metallicities, scientists use the sun as a point of reference--almost like describing how much caffeine a beverage has by comparing it to a cup of coffee. Jupiter has a metallicity about 2 to 5 times that of the sun. For Saturn, it's about 10 times as much as the sun. These relatively low values mean that the two gas giants are made almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. The ice giants Neptune and Uranus are smaller than the gas giants but richer in the heavier elements, with metallicities of about 100 times that of the sun. So, for the four outer planets in our solar system, the trend is that the metallicities are lower for the bigger planets. Scientists think this happened because, as the solar system was taking shape, Neptune and Uranus formed in a region toward the outskirts of the enormous disk of dust, gas and debris that swirled around the immature sun. Summing up the complicated process of planetary formation in a nutshell: Neptune and Uranus would have been bombarded with a lot of icy debris that was rich in heavier elements. Jupiter and Saturn, which formed in a warmer part of the disk, would have encountered less of the icy debris. Two planets beyond our solar system also fit this trend. One is the Neptune-mass planet HAT-P-11b. The other is WASP-43b, a gas giant twice as massive as Jupiter. But Wakeford and her colleagues found that HAT-P-26b bucks the trend. They determined its metallicity is only about 4.8 times that of the sun, much closer to the value for Jupiter than for Neptune. "This analysis shows that there is a lot more diversity in the atmospheres of these exoplanets than we were expecting, which is providing insight into how planets can form and evolve differently than in our solar system," said David K. Sing of the University of Exeter and the second author of the paper. "I would say that has been a theme in the studies of exoplanets: Researchers keep finding surprising diversity." The research paper, "HAT-P-26b: A Neptune-mass Exoplanet with a Well-constrained Heavy Element Abundance," Hannah Wakeford, David Sing, Tiffany Kataria, Drake Deming, Nikolay Nikolov, Eric Lopez, Pascal Tremblin, David Amundsen, Nikole Lewis, Avi Mandell, Jonathan Fortney, Heather Knutson, Björn Benneke and Tom Evans, was published May 12, 2017 in the journal Science. This work was supported by the European Space Agency, NASA (Award Nos. NAS 5-26555 and HST-GO-14260) and the European Research Council (Award Nos. 336792, 313014, and 247060-PEPS). The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views of these organizations. This release is adapted from text provided by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. University of Maryland College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences 2300 Symons Hall College Park, MD 20742 http://www. @UMDscience About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 7,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college's 10 departments and more than a dozen interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $150 million.


News Article | May 13, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

An exoplanet located about 437 light-years away with a mass comparable to that of Neptune or Uranus sheds light on how planets form around their host stars. HAT-P-26b, also called "warm Neptune," is characterized by an atmosphere composed mostly of hydrogen and helium. Data from the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes helped astronomers determine the planet's metallicity, a measure of elements that are heavier than helium and hydrogen in the atmosphere that can help determine how a planet formed. If a planet has more heavier elements compared with the sun, it is described to have high metallicity. Jupiter has a metallicity of about two to five times that of the solar system's sun, while Saturn has a metallicity of about 10 times that of the sun. The low values suggest that these two gas giants are almost made up of hydrogen and helium. Neptune and Uranus, the ice giants of the solar system, are smaller compared with the gas giants but have heavier elements with 100 times the metallicity of the sun. In the solar system, the trend is that bigger planets like Jupiter and Saturn tend to have lower metallicities. Astronomers said that this likely happened because during the formation of the solar system, Neptune and Uranus formed in the outskirts of the disk that circled around the sun and these planets were likely pounded by icy debris carrying heavier elements. The metallicity of Saturn and Jupiter indicates that they likely formed closer to the sun, where there was fewer icy debris present. The gas giants formed in the warmer region of the disk, which means they were less hit by those objects. Researchers found that HAT-P-26b has 4.8 times the amount of heavy elements found in the sun, which means it has relatively low metallicity when compared with the standards of the solar system. Based on the assumed metallicity of the exoplanet, researchers also argued that HAT-P-26b formed closer to its star than it is now. Despite having a mass comparable with Neptune and Uranus, its metallicity is closer in value to Jupiter's than the two icy planets. "We were expecting [HAT-P-26b] to have a very high metallicity, but what we found is it's actually closer to Jupiter in the amount of heavy elements it has in its atmosphere," said study researcher Hannah Wakeford, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The researchers said that their analysis shows more diversity in the atmosphere of exoplanets than expected. It also offers insights on how exoplanets can form and evolve differently from the solar system. Scientists said they often find diversity when studying extraterrestrial worlds. "I would say that has been a theme in the studies of exoplanets: Researchers keep finding surprising diversity," said study researcher David Sing from the University of Exeter. Results of the analysis of warm Neptune were reported in a study published in Science on May 12. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | May 15, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

A study combining observations from NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes reveals that the distant planet HAT-P-26b has a primitive atmosphere composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. Located about 437 light years away, HAT-P-26b orbits a star roughly twice as old as the sun. The analysis is one of the most detailed studies to date of a “warm Neptune,” or a planet that is Neptune-sized and close to its star. The researchers determined that HAT-P-26b’s atmosphere is relatively clear of clouds and has a strong water signature, although the planet is not a water world. This is the best measurement of water to date on an exoplanet of this size. The discovery of an atmosphere with this composition on this exoplanet has implications for how scientists think about the birth and development of planetary systems. Compared to Neptune and Uranus, the planets in our solar system with about the same mass, HAT-P-26b likely formed either closer to its host star or later in the development of its planetary system, or both. “Astronomers have just begun to investigate the atmospheres of these distant Neptune-mass planets, and almost right away, we found an example that goes against the trend in our solar system,” said Hannah Wakeford, a postdoctoral researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study published in the May 12, 2017, issue of Science. “This kind of unexpected result is why I really love exploring the atmospheres of alien planets.” To study HAT-P-26b’s atmosphere, the researchers used data from transits— occasions when the planet passed in front of its host star. During a transit, a fraction of the starlight gets filtered through the planet’s atmosphere, which absorbs some wavelengths of light but not others. By looking at how the signatures of the starlight change as a result of this filtering, researchers can work backward to figure out the chemical composition of the atmosphere. In this case, the team pooled data from four transits measured by Hubble and two seen by Spitzer. Together, those observations covered a wide range of wavelengths from yellow light through the near-infrared region. “To have so much information about a warm Neptune is still rare, so analyzing these data sets simultaneously is an achievement in and of itself,” said co-author Tiffany Kataria of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Because the study provided a precise measurement of water, the researchers were able to use the water signature to estimate HAT-P-26b’s metallicity. Astronomers calculate the metallicity, an indication of how rich the planet is in all elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, because it gives them clues about how a planet formed. To compare planets by their metallicities, scientists use the sun as a point of reference, almost like describing how much caffeine beverages have by comparing them to a cup of coffee. Jupiter has a metallicity about 2 to 5 times that of the sun. For Saturn, it’s about 10 times as much as the sun. These relatively low values mean that the two gas giants are made almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. The ice giants Neptune and Uranus are smaller than the gas giants but richer in the heavier elements, with metallicities of about 100 times that of the sun. So, for the four outer planets in our solar system, the trend is that the metallicities are lower for the bigger planets. Scientists think this happened because, as the solar system was taking shape, Neptune and Uranus formed in a region toward the outskirts of the enormous disk of dust, gas and debris that swirled around the immature sun. Summing up the complicated process of planetary formation in a nutshell: Neptune and Uranus would have been bombarded with a lot of icy debris that was rich in heavier elements. Jupiter and Saturn, which formed in a warmer part of the disk, would have encountered less of the icy debris. Two planets beyond our solar system also fit this trend. One is the Neptune-mass planet HAT-P-11b. The other is WASP-43b, a gas giant twice as massive as Jupiter. But Wakeford and her colleagues found that HAT-P-26b bucks the trend. They determined its metallicity is only about 4.8 times that of the sun, much closer to the value for Jupiter than for Neptune. “This analysis shows that there is a lot more diversity in the atmospheres of these exoplanets than we were expecting, which is providing insight into how planets can form and evolve differently than in our solar system,” said David K. Sing of the University of Exeter and the second author of the paper. “I would say that has been a theme in the studies of exoplanets: Researchers keep finding surprising diversity.”


The 2007 OR10 is the third-biggest of the solar system's nine dwarf planets and is also called "Snow White." Astronomers discovered a small moon that is orbiting our solar system's third-largest dwarf planet. The astronomers found the moon orbiting 2007 OR10 thanks to images that were taken from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, as well as two other space observatories. The Snow White is basically a 950-mile wide dwarf planet, which is located in the Kuiper Belt. This is the ring of icy debris that is found beyond Neptune and was left over when the solar system formed 4.6 billion years ago. According to astronomers, the Snow White dwarf planet's moon is quite big and the satellite has a 150- to 250-mile wide diameter. The 2007 OR10 is only smaller than two other dwarf planets — Eris and Pluto. The 2007 OR10 was discovered roughly 10 years ago and has a 950-mile diameter. This dwarf planet has a "eccentric orbit" and it is three times further from the sun vis-à-vis Pluto. NASA shared that the latest discovery offers an insight into how satellites formed in the young solar system. The study's lead author Csaba Kiss remarked that finding satellites around the known bigger dwarf planets — barring Sedna — suggests that when their formation occurred, the collision were likely "more frequent." This is possibly a constraint for the satellites' formation model. The researchers spotted the 2007 OR10's satellite in archival images, which the Hubble Space Telescope's camera captured. However, the Kepler Space Telescope was the first to tip the astronomers of the possibility of a moon orbiting the dwarf planet. The data from this telescope revealed that the Snow White dwarf planet rotated once every 45 hours on its axis. Its rotation rate is a lot slower than objects in the Kuiper Belt, which have a rotation rate of under 24 hours. "We looked in the Hubble archive because the slower rotation period could have been caused by the gravitational tug of a moon. The initial investigator missed the moon in the Hubble images because it is very faint," Kiss remarked. The moon orbiting 2007 OR10 was spotted in two different observations of Hubble images. These observations had a year's gap between them and were taken in Nov. 6, 2009, and Sept. 14, 2010 from the Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3. The images showed that the third-largest dwarf planet's moon — set against a star-spangled backdrop — was bound gravitationally to 2007 OR10 as it moves with the planetary body. Unfortunately, the two Hubble image observations were not adequate to offer astronomers sufficient clues to ascertain an orbit. The research's results were published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


Richard Tyrrell, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer stated: "In the first quarter of 2017, the Partnership continued to deliver on its strategy of making accretive acquisitions and delivering distribution growth to unitholders. Having closed the acquisition of 51% of the Höegh Grace at the beginning of the quarter, the Partnership has expanded and diversified its fleet to five FSRUs and added Colombia to the growing list of markets utilizing floating storage and regasification units to participate in the global LNG trade. The acquisition enabled the Partnership to declare a 4.2% distribution increase for the first quarter of 2017 compared to the fourth quarter of 2016, representing an annualized cash distribution of $1.72 per unit – an increase of more than 27% since the IPO in mid-2014. The first quarter of 2017 was also a busy one for operations with the Höegh Grace recording its first full quarter of employment on a minimum 10 year contract, while the Neptune has been deployed as an FSRU to supplement the existing regasification capacity in Turkey. The attractive price of LNG, together with the speed and cost-effectiveness with which FSRU projects can be implemented, continues to be a highly compelling value proposition for a wide range of markets around the world. Following the acquisition of 51% of the Höegh Grace, the Partnership retains a right-of-first-offer on the remaining 49% and looks forward to be able to execute on this opportunity in the future. The Partnership also believes it is ideally positioned to benefit from the maturing dropdown pipeline of long-term FSRU contracts under development by Höegh LNG Holdings Ltd. which the Partnership believes, assuming their execution, will support the further growth of the Partnership's asset base and distributable cash flows." As of January 1, 2017, the Partnership began consolidating the Höegh Grace entities as a result of the acquisition of a 51% interest in the Höegh Grace entities. The revenues, expenses and net income in the consolidated income statement include 100% of the results of the Höegh Grace entities. This is reduced with the non-controlling interest in net income to arrive at the partners' interest in net income which reflects the Partnership's 51% interest in the net income of the Höegh Grace entities. Similarly, all of the assets and liabilities on the consolidated balance sheet include 100% of the Höegh Grace entities' assets and liabilities. Total equity is split between partners' capital (which includes the Partnership's 51% interest in the net assets of the Höegh Grace entities) and the non-controlling interest. Management monitors the results of operations of the Höegh Grace entities based on the Partnership's 51% interest in the Segment EBITDA of such entities and, therefore, subtracts the non-controlling interest in Segment EBITDA to present Segment EBITDA. The Partnership reported net income of $16.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2017, an increase of $17.2 million from net loss of $1.0 million for the three months ended March 31, 2016. The net income (loss) for both periods was significantly impacted by unrealized gains and losses on derivative instruments mainly on the Partnership's share of equity in earnings of joint ventures. Excluding all of the unrealized gains and losses on derivative instruments, net income for the three months ended March 31, 2017 would have been $13.0 million, an increase of $5.4 million from $7.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2016. The increase for the three months ended March 31, 2017 was primarily due to the inclusion of the results of the Höegh Grace consolidated on January 1, 2017. Net income of $2.7 million was attributable to non-controlling interest for the 49% interest in the Höegh Grace entities not owned by the Partnership. The partners' interest in net income, which includes the Partnership's 51% interest in the Höegh Grace entities, for the three months ended March 31, 2017 was $13.4 million, an increase of $14.5 million from a net loss of $1.0 million for the three months ended March 31, 2016. The PGN FSRU Lampung and the Höegh Grace were on-hire for the entire first quarter of 2017. The Höegh Gallant had several days of reduced hire due to unscheduled maintenance in the first quarter of 2017 compared with 15 days off-hire for scheduled maintenance in the first quarter of 2016. Equity in earnings of joint ventures was $4.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2017, an increase of $11.5 million from equity in losses of joint ventures of $6.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2016. The joint ventures own the Neptune and the GDF Suez Cape Ann. The reason for the increased earnings was unrealized gains on derivative instruments in the Partnership's share of the joint ventures for the three months ended March 31, 2017 of $2.5 million, compared to unrealized losses on derivative instruments of $9.0 million for three months ended March 31, 2016. The joint ventures do not apply hedge accounting for interest rate swaps and all changes in fair value are included in equity in earnings (losses) of joint ventures. For the three months ended March 31, 2017, the Partnership's share of operating income in the joint ventures was $5.9 million compared to $6.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2016. The reduction was due in part to lower revenue due to reduced hire for the Neptune in its start up phase in Turkey. Operating income for the three months ended March 31, 2017 was $25.7 million, an increase of $19.5 million from $6.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2016. Excluding the impact of the unrealized losses on derivative instruments for the three months ended March 31, 2017 and 2016 impacting the equity in earnings of joint ventures, operating income for the three months ended March 31, 2017 would have been $23.2 million, an increase of $8.0 million from $15.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2016. The increase for the three months ended March 31, 2017 was primarily due to the inclusion of the results of the Höegh Grace consolidated from January 1, 2017. Segment EBITDA2 was $29.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2017, an increase of $5.4 million from $24.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2016. As of March 31, 2017, the Partnership had cash and cash equivalents of $18.8 million and an undrawn portion of the $85 million revolving credit facility of $74.8 million. In February 2017, the Partnership drew $1.6 million on the revolving credit facility. Current restricted cash for operating obligations of the PGN FSRU Lampung was $8.8 million, and long-term restricted cash required under the Lampung facility was $14.2 million as of March 31, 2017. During the first quarter of 2017, the Partnership made quarterly repayments of $4.8 million on the Lampung facility, $3.3 million on the Gallant facility and $3.3 million on the Grace facility. The Partnership's book value and outstanding principal of total long-term debt was $513.8 million and $519.8 million, respectively, as of March 31, 2017, repayable in quarterly installments of $11.4 million. This includes 100% of the long-term debt of the Höegh Grace entities which are consolidated. As of March 31, 2017, the Partnership's total current liabilities exceeded total current assets by $24.9 million. This is partly a result of mark-to-market valuations of its interest rate swaps (derivative instruments) of $4.2 million and the current portion of long-term debt of $45.5 million being classified current while the restricted cash of $14.2 million associated with the Lampung facility is classified as long-term. The Partnership does not plan to terminate the interest rate swaps before their maturity and, as a result, the Partnership will not realize these liabilities. Further, the current portion of long-term debt reflects principal payments for the next twelve months which will be funded, for the most part, by future cash flows from operations. The Partnership does not intend to maintain a cash balance to fund the next twelve months' net liabilities. The Partnership believes its current resources, including the undrawn balance under the revolving credit facility, are sufficient to meet the Partnership's working capital requirements for its current business for the next twelve months. As of March 31, 2017, the Partnership had outstanding interest rate swap agreements for a total notional amount of $444.6 million to hedge against the interest rate risks of its long-term debt under the Lampung, Gallant and Grace facilities. The Partnership applies hedge accounting for derivative instruments related to those facilities. The Partnership receives interest based on three month US dollar LIBOR and pays a fixed rate of 2.8% for the Lampung facility. The Partnership receives interest based on three month US dollar LIBOR and pays a fixed rate of approximately 1.9% for the Gallant facility. The Partnership receives interest based on three month US dollar LIBOR and pays a fixed rate of approximately 2.3% for the Grace facility. The carrying value of the liability for derivative instruments was $7.9 million as of March 31, 2017. The effective portion of the changes in fair value of the interest rate swaps are recorded in other comprehensive income. Gain on derivative instruments for the three months ended March 31, 2017 was $0.7 million, an increase of $0.4 million from $0.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2016. Gain on derivative instruments for the three months ended March 31, 2017 related to the interest rate swaps for the Lampung, Gallant and Grace facilities, while the gain for the three months ended March 31, 2016 related to the Lampung and Gallant facilities. The increase is mainly due to amortization of the amount excluded from hedge effectiveness for the Grace facility. On May 15, 2017, the Partnership paid a $0.43 per unit distribution with respect to the first quarter of 2017, equivalent to $1.72 per unit on an annualized basis. The distribution's total amount was $14.4 million. In May 2017, the Partnership drew $10.1 million on the revolving credit facility. In the second quarter of 2017, the Partnership filed and was paid $0.6 million of claims for indemnification from Höegh LNG Holdings Ltd. ("Höegh LNG") for the three months ended March 31, 2017 for losses with respect to the commencement of services under the time charter with Höegh LNG Egypt LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Höegh LNG, pursuant to the contribution, purchase and sale agreement for the acquisition of the Höegh Gallant. In the second quarter of 2017, the Höegh Gallant has 8 days of scheduled maintenance and will be off-hire. Pursuant to the contribution, purchase and sale agreement the Partnership entered into with Höegh LNG with respect to the acquisition of 51% of the ownership interests in the Höegh Grace entities, the Partnership has a right of first offer to purchase the remaining 49% interest. Pursuant to the omnibus agreement that the Partnership entered into with Höegh LNG at the time of the initial public offering, Höegh LNG is obligated to offer to the Partnership any floating storage and regasification unit ("FSRU") or LNG carrier operating under a charter of five or more years. Accordingly, the Partnership has, or may in the future have, the opportunity to acquire the FSRUs listed below: Höegh LNG has three FSRUs on order. Pursuant to the terms of the omnibus agreement, the Partnership will have the right to purchase HHI Hull No. 2865, and HHI Hull No. 2909 and SHI Hull No.2220 (under a shipbuilding contract with Samsung Heavy Industries ("SHI")) following acceptance by the respective charterer of the related FSRU, subject to reaching an agreement with Höegh LNG regarding the purchase price. There can be no assurance that the Partnership will purchase any of these additional FSRUs. Depending on the ultimate timing of the start of projects, allocations of the hulls to projects is subject to change. Finally, although the Partnership's option to purchase Höegh LNG's interests in the FSRU Independence pursuant to the omnibus agreement has expired, the Partnership expects that Höegh LNG would offer the opportunity to purchase such interests in the event it receives the consent of the charterer of the Independence, AB Klapipedòs Nafta ("ABKN"). On December 5, 2014, the Independence began operating under its time charter with ABKN. The Partnership and Höegh LNG continue to pursue, but have not received ABKN's consent to the acquisition of the Independence by the Partnership. The Independence is located in the port of Klaipeda and provides Lithuania with the ability to diversify its gas supply by giving it access to the world market for LNG. The Independence is moored adjacent to a purpose-built jetty connected to a pipeline connecting to the existing grid in Lithuania. There can be no assurance that the Partnership will acquire the remaining 49% interest in the Höegh Grace entities or any vessels from Höegh LNG or of the terms upon which any such acquisition may be made. A presentation will be held today, Wednesday, May 24, 2017, at 8:30 A.M. (EDT) to discuss financial results for the first quarter of 2017. The results and presentation material will be available for download at http://www.hoeghlngpartners.com. The presentation will be immediately followed by a Q&A session. Participants will be able to join this presentation using the following details: Participants should ask to be joined into the Höegh LNG Partners LP call. There will be a Q&A session after the presentation. Information on how to ask questions will be given at the beginning of the Q&A session. For those unable to participate in the conference call, a replay will be available from one hour after the end of the conference call until May 31, 2017. The replay dial-in numbers are as follows: The Partnership has filed a Form 6-K with the SEC with detailed information on the Partnership's results of operations for the three months ended March 31, 2017, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and unaudited condensed interim consolidated financial statements. The Form 6-K can be viewed on the SEC's website: and at HMLP's website: Höegh LNG Partners LP (NYSE: HMLP) is a growth-oriented limited partnership formed by Höegh LNG Holdings Ltd. (Oslo Børs: HLNG), a leading floating LNG service provider. HMLP's strategy is to own, operate and acquire FSRUs and associated LNG infrastructure assets under long-term charters. Its FSRUs have an industry leading average remaining firm contract duration of 12.2 years plus options as of March 31, 2017. This press release contains certain forward-looking statements concerning future events and the Partnership's operations, performance and financial condition. Forward-looking statements include, without limitation, any statement that may predict, forecast, indicate or imply future results, performance or achievements, and may contain the words "believe," "anticipate," "expect," "estimate," "project," "future," "will be," "will continue," "will likely result," "plan," "intend" or words or phrases of similar meanings. These statements involve known and unknown risks and are based upon a number of assumptions and estimates that are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond the Partnership's control. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to: All forward-looking statements included in this press release are made only as of the date of this press release. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for the Partnership to predict all of these factors. Further, the Partnership cannot assess the impact of each such factor on its business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to be materially different from those contained in any forward-looking statement. The Partnership does not intend to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in its expectations with respect thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based. HÖEGH LNG PARTNERS LP UNAUDITED SEGMENT INFORMATION FOR THE QUARTER ENDED MARCH 31, 2017 AND 2016 (in thousands of U.S. dollars) There are two operating segments. The segment profit measure is Segment EBITDA, which is defined as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and other financial items (gains and losses on derivative instruments and other items, net) less the non-controlling interest in Segment EBITDA. Segment EBITDA is reconciled to operating income and net income in the segment presentation below. The two segments are "Majority held FSRUs" and "Joint venture FSRUs." In addition, unallocated corporate costs that are considered to benefit the entire organization, interest income from advances to joint ventures and interest expense related to the seller's credit note and the outstanding balance on the $85 million revolving credit facility are included in "Other." For the three months ended March 31, 2017, Majority held FSRUs includes the direct financing lease related to the PGN FSRU Lampung, the operating lease related to the Höegh Gallant and the operating lease related to the Höegh Grace consolidated on January 1, 2017. For the three months ended March 31, 2016, Majority held FSRUs includes only the direct financing lease related to the PGN FSRU Lampung and the operating lease related to the Höegh Gallant. As of March 31, 2017 and 2016, Joint Venture FSRUs include two 50% owned FSRUs, the Neptune and the GDF Suez Cape Ann, that operate under long term time charters with one charterer. The accounting policies applied to the segments are the same as those applied in the financial statements, except that i) Joint Venture FSRUs are presented under the proportional consolidation method for the segment note to the Partnership's financial statements and in the tables below, and under equity accounting for the consolidated financial statements and ii) non-controlling interest in Segment EBITDA is subtracted in the segment note and the tables below to reflect the Partnership's interest in Segment EBITDA as the Partnership's segment profit measure, Segment EBITDA. Under the proportional consolidation method, 50% of the Joint Venture FSRUs' revenues, expenses and assets are reflected in the segment note. Management monitors the results of operations of joint ventures under the proportional consolidation method and not the equity method of accounting. On January 1, 2017, the Partnership began consolidating its acquired 51% interest in the Höegh Grace entities. Since the Partnership obtained control of the Höegh Grace entities, it consolidates 100% of the revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities of the Höegh Grace entities and the interest not owned by the Partnership is reflected as non-controlling interest in net income and non-controlling interest in total equity under US GAAP. Management monitors the results of operations of the Höegh Grace entities based on the Partnership's 51% interest in Segment EBITDA of such entities and, therefore, subtracts the non-controlling interest in Segment EBITDA to present Segment EBITDA. The adjustment to non-controlling interest in Segment EBITDA is reversed to reconcile to operating income and net income in the segment presentation below. The following tables include the results for the segments for the three months ended March 31, 2017 and 2016. Segment EBITDA. EBITDA is defined as earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization and taxes. Segment EBITDA is defined as earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization, taxes and other financial items less non-controlling interest in Segment EBITDA. Other financial items consist of gains and losses on derivative instruments and other items, net (including foreign exchange gains and losses and withholding tax on interest expenses). Segment EBITDA is used as a supplemental financial measure by management and external users of financial statements, such as the Partnership's lenders, to assess its financial and operating performance. The Partnership believes that Segment EBITDA assists its management and investors by increasing the comparability of its performance from period to period and against the performance of other companies in the industry that provide Segment EBITDA information. This increased comparability is achieved by excluding the potentially disparate effects between periods or companies of interest, other financial items, depreciation and amortization and taxes, which items are affected by various and possibly changing financing methods, capital structure and historical cost basis and which items may significantly affect net income between periods. The Partnership believes that including Segment EBITDA as a financial and operating measure benefits investors in (a) selecting between investing in it and other investment alternatives and (b) monitoring its ongoing financial and operational strength in assessing whether to continue to hold common units. Segment EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial measure and should not be considered as an alternative to net income, operating income or any other measure of financial performance presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Segment EBITDA excludes some, but not all, items that affect net income, and these measures may vary among other companies. Therefore, Segment EBITDA as presented below may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies. The following tables reconcile Segment EBITDA for each of the segments and the Partnership as a whole to net income (loss), the comparable U.S. GAAP financial measure, for the periods presented: Distributable cash flow represents Segment EBITDA adjusted for cash collections on principal payments on the direct financing lease, amortization in revenues for above market contracts less non-controlling interest in amortization in revenues for above market contracts, amortization of deferred revenues for the joint ventures, interest income‎, interest expense less amortization of debt issuance cost and fair value of debt assumed, other items (net), unrealized foreign exchange losses (gains), current income tax expense, non-controlling interest in finance and tax items and other adjustments including indemnification paid by Hoegh LNG for non-budgeted expenses and losses and estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures. Cash collections on the direct financing lease investment with respect to the PGN FSRU Lampung consist of the difference between the payments under time charter and the revenues recognized as a financing lease (representing the payment of the principal recorded as a receivable). Amortization in revenues for above market contracts consist of the non-cash amortization of the intangible for the above market time charter contract related to the acquisitions of the Höegh Gallant and Höegh Grace. Amortization of deferred revenues for the joint ventures accounted for under the equity method consist of non-cash amortization to revenues of charterer payments for modifications and drydocking to the vessels. Estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures, including estimated expenditures for drydocking, represent capital expenditures required to maintain over the long-term the operating capacity of, or the revenue generated by, the Partnership's capital assets. Distributable cash flow is presented starting with Segment EBITDA taken from the total segment reporting using the proportional consolidation method for the Partnership's 50% interests in the joint ventures as shown in Appendix A. Therefore, the adjustments to Segment EBITDA include the Partnership's share of the joint venture's adjustments. The Partnership believes distributable cash flow is an important liquidity measure used by management and investors in publicly traded partnerships to compare cash generating performance of the Partnership' cash generating assets from period to period by adjusting for cash and non-cash items that could potentially have a disparate effect between periods, and to compare the cash generating performance for specific periods to the cash distributions (if any) that are expected to be paid to unitholders. The Partnership also believes distributable cash flow benefits investors in comparing its cash generating performance to other companies that account for time charters as operating leases rather than financial leases, or that do not have non-cash amortization of intangibles or deferred revenue. Distributable cash flow is a non-GAAP liquidity measure and should not be considered as an alternative to net cash provided by operating activities, or any other measure of the Partnership's liquidity or cash flows calculated in accordance with GAAP. Distributable cash flow excludes some, but not all, items that affect net cash provided by operating activities and the measures may vary among companies. For example, distributable cash flow does not reflect changes in working capital balances. Distributable cash flow also includes some items that do not affect net cash provided by operating activities. Therefore, distributable cash flow may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies. Distributable cash flow is not the same measure as available cash or operating surplus, both of which are defined by the Partnership's partnership agreement. The first table below reconciles distributable cash flow to Segment EBITDA, which is reconciled to net income, the most directly comparable GAAP measure for Segment EBITDA, in Appendix A. Refer to Appendix A for the definition of Segment EBITDA. The second table below reconciles distributable cash flow to net cash provided by operating activities, the most directly comparable GAAP measures for liquidity. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/hoegh-lng-partners-lp-reports-preliminary-financial-results-for-the-quarter-ended-march-31-2017-300462968.html


News Article | March 28, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

Australian scientists are recruiting budding or amateur stargazers in the search for the elusive ninth planet believed to orbit the solar system. Astronomers from the Australian National University recently released thousands of images for the public to help pinpoint the location of Planet Nine, which is speculated to be located beyond Neptune and Pluto. The thousands of images were captured by the SkyMapper telescope at the university’s observatory in New South Wales. The robotic telescope has been producing a digital map of the southern sky, prompting researchers to share the output to anyone interested in discovering the theorized planet. “[B]ecause it's produced hundreds of thousands of images we're inviting the public, everyone, to access our images and try and find this planet," said ANU astronomer Dr. Brad Tucker in an ABC News report. “Planet Nine” is merely a working title, and stargazers have been promised a chance to naming it if they spot it on the website showcasing the digital images. Rules set by the International Astronomical Union, however, will guide the naming. A similar public search dubbed Backyard Worlds, a search of the northern sky, was launched by NASA last month. "If this planet exists, it's already in one of our thousands and thousands of images," Tucker told the BBC, explaining that using the website is much like “spot the difference.” After clicking a certain object on the images, the site will provide calculations and determine if it lies on an orbit fitting the planet’s proposed position and characteristics. The site will then transmit the information to the scientists, who will track the answers with their telescopes from around the world. The team is expecting the project will last a few months. “But the bulk of it we hope to plough through really quick,” Tucker added. Calculations from January 2016 suggest Planet Nine may be orbiting the sun, despite the fact that it is yet to be eyeballed by scientists. It has been projected to be about 10 times the size of Earth and 800 times more distant from the sun. According to Tucker, experts concluded that the planet existed after a study of Pluto’s orbit, which could have been affected by another planet’s gravity. Neptune was predicted the actual same way, he revealed. Recent findings from New Mexico State University researchers showed that Planet Nine could actually be a “rogue planet,” a free-moving object not bound to a specific star in the past, and eventually got snatched into our solar system by the gravitational pull of the sun. The solar system currently has eight recognized planets, after Pluto was demoted in 2006. But science is still all agog with the prospect of finding so many more, with a group proposing a new way to classify planets and potentially bringing the count to over 100. Johns Hopkins University’s Kirby Runyon and colleagues, defining a planet as "a sub-stellar mass body that has never undergone nuclear fusion,” proposed that factors defining a celestial object’s planetary qualifications should depend on the body itself, not just things such as location. And based on this proposed definition, Jupiter moon Europa and our own moon would be classifiable as planets. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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