Best of 2012: #7: Planets, Planets, Planets

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exoplanets-many-habitable-worlds
exoplanets-many-habitable-worlds

2012 might have been the year of the Planet.  Not our planet, but other planets.  We found close planets, new planets, baby planets, and even planets with 4 suns.  Space got a lot of more complicated this past year.

READ MORE // NASA: Mars has Liquid Water

2012 marked our finding of a planet really close to earth.  In October we discovered our closet celestial neighbour yet.  Orbiting Alpha Centauri B is a ‘mere’ 4 light years away.

This year, 800 planets were confirmed to exists outside our own solar system, and almost 2,000 more are potential planets.

One of those planets, PH1, was discovered by amateur sky trackers.  PH1 is remarkable, as it is the first planet known to orbit not just one, but FOUR separate suns.

Ph1 4 suns

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft also made a planetary discovery this year.  Vesta, a strange body that was originally thought to be an asteroid is indeed a Protoplanet. While not a full planet, something interrupted its evolution, and it never fully became a planet in its own right.

As we send up more spacecraft and stronger telescopes, will we find more planets?  Will 2013 finally be the year we find a true Earth-like planet?

Read more // The Best of 2012 series

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