Astro Bob's Backyard Astronomy: Comet NEOWISE and Super-Earths in the "Goldilocks Zone"

Jun 30, 2020

Credit Matteo Grassi/Unsplash

Who needs fireworks when you have a Fourth of July penumbral eclipse to look forward to?

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NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft discovered a comet back in March - and named it after itself.

And researchers have discovered a pair of so-called "Super-Earths" in the "Goldilocks Zone." Super-Earths are bigger than Earth but smaller than Uranus and Neptune, and the "Goldilocks Zone" (also called the "habitable zone") refers to a location where liquid water could concievable exist on a planet's surface.

Perhaps they should have taken a page from NEOWISE's book, though: the Super-Earths, which orbit the nearby star Gliese 887, have been named Gliese 887b and Gliese 887c - hardly names to write home about even from a Super-Earth.

You can find more information on these stories and more at Astro Bob's Backyard Astronomy.