January 12 2012 Astronomy Newsletter
Here is this week's article:
Auriga the Charioteer
The constellation Auriga represents a charioteer, but he has no chariot. However he does have a she-goat and two kids, as well as a rare ring galaxy and a runaway star. Capella is one of the sky's brightest stars, but it also has some surprises.
*Happy Birthday to the Royal Astronomical Society*
The society was founded in London on January 12, 1820. Sir William Herschel agreed to be the first president, though he was in poor health so this was just a gesture of support.
*Kepler finds three little planets*
NASA's Kepler mission has found the three smallest exoplanets so far seen. All three are smaller than the Earth and are rocky. This is very exciting because most of the exoplanets so far have been much bigger and gaseous - because these are easier to find. However the three planets are all quite close to their star, taking only a few days to orbit. This means they aren't in the habitable zone even though the star is much cooler than ours.
That's all for now. Wishing you clear skies.
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