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Earthshine used to test life detection method
...By imagining the Earth as an exoplanet, scientists observing our planet's reflected light on the Moon with ESO's Very Large Telescope have demonstrated a way to detect life on other worlds...

Solid buckyballs discovered in space
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Steamy water-world gets the Hubble treatment
...Hubble Space Telescope observations of a 7 Earth-mass planet find an unusual water-rich world swathed in a thick, steamy atmosphere...

Sunspot flares again – headed for Earth?
Posted: 07 March 2012

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The large sunspot AR 1429 has unleashed its most powerful flare yet, hurling a bright coronal mass ejection (CME) into space and it may have Earth’s name on it.

This morning (7 March) at 00.28h UT NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the immense ultra-violet flash of an X5-class solar flare resulting in a CME heading our way. Astronomers are not certain yet if the CME will hit the Earth head-on, but it is likely that it will strike a glancing blow on March 8 or 9.

An X5-class flare erupted from the Sun this morning, launching a CME out into space. Image: SDO/NASA.

The good news for solar observers is that AR 1429 is evolving and growing in size as it slow rotates toward the Sun’s central meridian. It is still a number of days from transiting and there is plenty of time to hope for a break in the cloudy conditions; looking at the UK forecast, this afternoon and tomorrow morning look promising (7-8 March).

Keep up to date with events here and at

For an explanation of the classification of solar flares visit

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3D Universe
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