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astrophysics

Exoplanets and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Variable Stars and the Stories They Tell: Exoplanets and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

©February 2018 by Dale Alan Bryant

(In memory of M.I.T. astrophysicist Dr. Philip Morrison - who started all this...)

 

Though the figures are tough to keep up with - they are changing, almost daily - the Kepler Space Telescope (KST) has discovered, to date, over 4,500 exoplanet candidates, ~3,400+ of which have been confirmed.

RR Lyrae


RR Lyrae, 1 degree field, DSS I survey plate
(copyright 1993-1995 CalTech/STScI)

Gamma Ray Bursts

What is a Gamma Ray Burst?

A gamma-ray burst (GRB) is a brief flash of gamma rays coming from an astrophysical source at great distances from us, often from hundreds of millions of light years away. Gamma rays are a kind of light (like visible light, microwaves, or X-rays) that is very energetic, and whatever produces gamma rays must therefore contain (and unleash) a large amount of energy in a very short amount of time. Thus the study of gamma ray bursts is a study of some of the most violent events in the universe.

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