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  • Reports of clashes between rival groups in Rae Bareli Sadar and Mahoba seats in 4th phase of polling in UP


Seven new Earth-sized exoplanets foundThe TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultra-cool dwarf, has seven Earth-size planets orbiting it. This artist''s concept appeared on the cover of the journal Nature on Feb. 23, 2017. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Seven new Earth-sized exoplanets found

23 Feb 2017 | 12:54 AM

HOUSTON:For the first time, seven new Earth-sized exoplanets that may be able to sustain life have been discovered orbiting a star 39 light years away, astronomers said today.

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Houston, February 22

For the first time, seven new Earth-sized exoplanets that may be able to sustain life have been discovered orbiting a star 39 light years away, astronomers said today.

"They could have some liquid water and maybe life," lead researcher Michael Gillon, with the University of Liege in Belgium, was quoted as saying by science journal Nature.

Astronomers have found other seven-planet systems before, but this is the first time to have so many Earth-sized worlds.

All of them orbit at the right distance to possibly have liquid water somewhere on their surfaces.

The planets closely circle a dwarf star named Trappist-1, which at 39 light years away makes the system a prime candidate to search for signs of life. Only marginally larger than Jupiter, the star shines with a feeble light about 2,000 times fainter than Earth's sun, the journal said.

The researchers have caught only two glimpses of one of those planets, so they followed up on the faint signals with other telescopes. That process included 20 consecutive days when NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope stared at the star.

The resulting data showed that what the scientists thought was a single planet was actually four that orbit their star roughly every 4, 6, 9 and 12 days.

Those four joined the two innermost planets, which whirl around the star once every 1.5 days and 2.4 days. The researchers also caught a hint of a seventh, more distant planet.

Gillon said that the six inner planets probably formed farther away from their star and then migrated inward. Now, they are so close to each other that their gravitational fields interact, nudging one another in ways that enabled the team to estimate each planet's mass. They range from around 0.4 to 1.4 times the mass of the Earth.

"I think that we've made a crucial step towards finding if there is life out there. I don't think that before we had the right planets to discover… if there was life. Here, if life managed to thrive and releases gases similar to that that we have on Earth, then we will know," said University of Cambridge astronomer Amaury Triaud.

However, scientists say they need to study the atmospheres before determining whether these planets could support some type of life.

Scanning the planets for methane, water, ozone and other chemicals tied to life will take another generation of telescopes, including the James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled to launch next year. - PTI

Nadella unveils tech for semi-skilled, slew of India-centric initiatives

Nadella unveils tech for semi-skilled, slew of India-centric initiatives

22 Feb 2017 | 9:56 PM

MUMBAI:Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Wednesday made a strong case for using digital technologies to empower the common man and launched a slew of India-centric initiatives, including a platform to connect semi-skilled workers with employers.

New low-cost robotic arm for minimally invasive surgery

New low-cost robotic arm for minimally invasive surgery

22 Feb 2017 | 9:56 PM

WASHINGTON: Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have developed a new type of robotic arm that could perform complex, minimally invasive surgery at a lower cost.

NASA telescope detects possible dark matter signals

NASA telescope detects possible dark matter signals

22 Feb 2017 | 9:23 PM

WASHINGTON: A signal detected from the neighboring Andromeda galaxy may indicate presence of the mysterious dark matter — the elusive substance that is believed to make up most of our universe — NASA said on Wednesday.

Tweets may predict your dieting success

Tweets may predict your dieting success

22 Feb 2017 | 7:30 PM

WASHINGTON: Your tweets may accurately predict whether you will stick to a diet, say scientists, including one of Indian origin, who have found that a person’s attitude on social media is directly linked to the likelihood of their dieting efforts succeeding.

7 new miniature night frog species found in Western Ghats

7 new miniature night frog species found in Western Ghats

21 Feb 2017 | 11:00 PM

NEW DELHI:Seven new miniature frog species in the world, which can comfortably sit on a coin or a thumbnail, have been discovered by Indian scientists in the Western Ghats.

Negative thoughts could mean stress, finds study

Negative thoughts could mean stress, finds study

21 Feb 2017 | 8:50 PM

NEW DELHI:Has your mind been preoccupied with negative thoughts lately? Do you feel irritated time and again? A new study suggests that you might be suffering from stress.

PIO's slippery bottle solves ketchup problem

PIO's slippery bottle solves ketchup problem

21 Feb 2017 | 8:40 PM

BOSTON:An Indian-origin scientist at MIT has found a novel way to get every last drop of ketchup, shampoo and glue out of the bottle by developing a coating that makes container interiors super slippery.

Green tea laced capacitor may power gen-next wearable devices

Green tea laced capacitor may power gen-next wearable devices

21 Feb 2017 | 6:30 PM

NEW DELHI:Scientists have used green tea compounds to develop a new flexible and compact rechargeable energy storage device which may power more comfortable wearable electronics such as heart rate monitors.

Fifth of world food lost to over-eating, wastage

Fifth of world food lost to over-eating, wastage

21 Feb 2017 | 5:23 PM

LONDON: Almost 20 per cent of the food made available to consumers worldwide is lost through over-eating or wastage, according to a new study.

NASA's Space Poop Challenge winners bag $ 30,000

NASA's Space Poop Challenge winners bag $ 30,000

20 Feb 2017 | 9:57 PM

WASHINGTON: NASA has awarded $30,000 to three winners for designing new human waste management systems that would let astronauts urinate and defecate inside their spacesuit for up to six days.

Juno to remain in current orbit around Jupiter: NASA

Juno to remain in current orbit around Jupiter: NASA

20 Feb 2017 | 9:53 PM

WASHINGTON: NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft, which has been probing Jupiter since July last year, will remain in its current 53-day orbit around the gas giant planet for the remainder of its mission.

Egg-free surrogate chickens produced to save rare breeds'

Egg-free surrogate chickens produced to save rare breeds'

19 Feb 2017 | 10:40 PM

LONDON:Hens that do not produce their own chicks have been developed by researchers for use as surrogates to lay eggs from rare breeds using new gene-editing techniques.

Spinal cord, not brain, determines left or right-handedness

Spinal cord, not brain, determines left or right-handedness

19 Feb 2017 | 6:58 PM

LONDON: Asymmetrical genetic activity in the spinal cord that begins in the womb determines if the baby will be right or left-handed, according to a new study which shows that the brain is not responsible for a person’s handedness.

Alien space particles wreaking havoc on your gadgets

Alien space particles wreaking havoc on your gadgets

19 Feb 2017 | 7:00 PM

WASHINGTON: Alien subatomic particles raining down from outer space are wreaking havoc on your smartphones, computers and other personal electronic devices, scientists including one of Indian origin say.

Cabbage harvested aboard space station: NASA

Cabbage harvested aboard space station: NASA

19 Feb 2017 | 3:10 PM

WASHINGTON: Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have harvested the first crop of Chinese cabbage after spending nearly a month tending to the leafy greens, according to NASA.

'Soon, print solar cells at the cost of a newspaper'

'Soon, print solar cells at the cost of a newspaper'

18 Feb 2017 | 10:30 PM

TORONTO:Printing solar cells may soon be as easy and inexpensive as printing a newspaper, thanks to researchers who have cleared a critical manufacturing hurdle in the development of a new class of solar devices.

770 million 4G users in China by 2016

770 million 4G users in China by 2016

18 Feb 2017 | 2:47 PM

BEIJING: The number of 4G users in China touched 770 million by the end of 2016, double the number from the previous year, according to official data.

Declining underwater seagrass may harm corals, humans

Declining underwater seagrass may harm corals, humans

17 Feb 2017 | 9:29 PM

WASHINGTON: Seagrass meadows can reduce bacterial exposure for corals and humans, according to scientists who warned that the most common coastal ecosystem on Earth are on a decline due to climate change.

Virtual reality, 3D printing tech may let you pet dinosaurs!

Virtual reality, 3D printing tech may let you pet dinosaurs!

17 Feb 2017 | 5:33 PM

MELBOURNE: You could soon walk with a dinosaur, and even pet it, thanks to scientists who for the first time are combining virtual reality and 3D printing to bring the prehistoric past back into life.

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