Friday, March 30, 2012

Thousands of billions of planets in our galaxy could host life

Astronomers investigate planets suitable for life support in the Milky Way estimated that the number of these bodies may amount to several thousand billion.

Research indicates that around 40% of red dwarf stars (the most common in our galaxy) planet orbiting one able to hold water. Milky Way hosts around 160 billion such stars, which means that the number of planets that have a temperature suitable to sustain life is quite high.

The team led by Xavier Bonfils from Planetologie and Astrophysics Institute of Grenoble, France, was first calculated the number of super-Earth planets (with a mass up to 10 times that of Earth) placed in suitable habitats.

Red dwarf stars, which are less luminous and cooler than our sun, is nearly 80% of Milky Way stars. After studying 102 such stars using a telescope at the European Southern Observatory, located in Chile, the scientists found that solid planets are more common than gas giants in our solar system.

However, experts warn that not all solid planets found orbiting small stars are able to allow life to evolve. Because red dwarf stars have lower temperatures than the Sun, planets that have water should orbit closer to the star, compared to the distance that Earth orbits. In this context, the planets may be exposed to too much ultraviolet radiation and X.

In the future, scientists plan to study more closely at some of these planets like Earth, to extract information about the atmosphere and possible signs of life
Sursa: Reuters

Aardvark - mysterious pig ant

For many the term 'African mammals' smart one of the big picture in mind herbivores or carnivores that form spectacular megafauna of Africa, one of the most impressive features of the nature of this continent. We often forget that not all large mammals - even in Africa - and the Black Continent fauna includes hundreds of species of medium, small or very small and they have their purpose in the complex mosaic of life, their role in increase inhabit ecosystems. And some of these mammals are true zoological oddities - although, on the other hand, any species in nature is not "strange" for all have appeared as a result of adaptation and evolution. However, some of these animals are singular in appearance, but also because, taxonomically speaking, not very well like with any other species of mammals today, so sistematicienii were forced to create one separate box in the classification, a place only for them, which do not share with anyone. That is bizarre pig ant species, one represented little known, although very specific, the fauna of Africa.
Orycteropus AFER, the name of science, is known as ground pork - by virtue of his habits of digging - or pig anthill, for that is feeding the ants and termites predominant. A, why they say "pig"? Because of the snout, which resembles a snout. This looks vaguely swine and burrowing habits of the digger and made ​​European settlers to call it Aardvark, which means earth pig Afrikaans language (Afrikaans is a language related to Dutch, from the language of the Dutch settlers who settled in south Africa since the eighteenth century), and Aardvark bye name in English. However, in the Romance languages​​, is called, in general, pork anthill.

Deprived of imposing appearance of representatives of African megafauna, pig ant has, however, a picturesque appearance, even "nice" as human criteria, for which attendance is appreciated in zoos and they want, although there is little that the have.