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Search for alien life gets boost at twin star

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WASHINGTON — The universe is looking increasingly crowded as scientists Tuesday announced the first proof twin stars can host multiple planets — boosting their search for a planet that could support life.

“We’re seeing more and more planets in more and more situations,” Jerome Orosz, an astronomer at San Diego State University, told AFP.

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“We’re almost to the point where you look at a star and say why doesn’t this have a planet?” he added.

Orosz is part of a team that has observed at least two planets orbiting around a pair of stars that are also orbiting each other.

It’s a potentially chaotic arrangement — with shifting gravity depending on where the stars are — that scientists weren’t sure was possible.

“After a star forms, it’s got a little bit of leftover material,” Orosz explained, “which eventually forms the Earth and the planets.”

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“The question was, if you put the disk and debris around a binary (star), would it survive long enough to form planets? And the answer is yes.”

The newly discovered planets were found around Kepler-47, a Sun-sized orb paired with another about a third as big.

NASA’s Kepler telescope — searching through the universe for as many worlds as it can find — has already found bodies at four other twin stars.

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But this is the first time astronomers have proof of more than one planet at a time.

And just maybe there’s a third planet in there as well, Orosz said, though they still need more data.

The planets are gas giants, around the size of Neptune. But these two are orbiting very close to their suns.

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In fact, the outer planet is hanging out within that sweet spot scientists call the “habitable zone” — not too close and hot, not too far and cold.

That’s a first, too, and an exciting one, because it’s another step towards finding an Earth-size planet within that zone, somewhere out there.

“Now we can find planets in these sorts of orbits. So the next step is to look for smaller and smaller bodies,” Orosz explained, something that becomes easier as more data accumulates.

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“If you go out at night and look at the sky, roughly half the stars you see are binary stars,” Orosz said.

“So the fact that you can find planets in the habitable zone of binary stars means you have lot more real estate” for potential life.

With Orosz as lead author, the team presented its findings in the magazine “Science.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Rachel Maddow reveals 9 major reasons so many Democrats are running against Trump in 2020

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The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC listed nine major reasons Democrats are running to take on President Donald Trump in 2020.

"As we close in on the third round of Democratic presidential primary debates, the acute angle of the funnel that the candidates are going through right now is starting to pinch a little bit," Maddow noted.

"I think it’s fair to say that the Democratic Party knew that a lot of people were going to get into this presidential primary to try to earn the right to challenge this incumbent president. Right? It’s not rocket science to figure that out," she continued. "It’s nothing personal about the president."

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WATCH: Joy Reid warns Trump is going to ‘tank the U.S. economy — just before Christmas’

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MSNBC's Joy Reid warned President Donald Trump is going to 'tank' the United States economy.

Reid was interviewed by Chris Hayes on a broadcast of "All In" with a live studio crowd on Friday.

"This new round of tariffs would increase everything," Reid noted. "Something like 70% of what you buy in Walmart is sourced from China."

"And so if you raise the prices — that’s tariffs are -- by 25% or 30%, you are essentially going to tank the U.S. economy just before Christmas," she warned.

"Kicking brown people out of the country is expensive," she said.

"If you're willing to go broke, if you are willing to lose your farm, willing to lose everything because you hate brown people so much you are willing to literally kill yourself economically for it," she said.

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Democrat mocks Trump for being the wrong person to lead the charge on mental illness

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President Donald Trump may not be the best person to focus on mental health in America, a Democratic senator explained on MSNBC.

"All In" host Chris Hayes interviewed Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) before a live studio audience.

The two discussed Trump's focus on mental health instead of gun control following the latest mass shootings in America.

"I saw this article about the mental health proposal being floated. I gotta say, the more I hear him talk about mental health, the more freaked out I get, honestly," Hayes explained. "It seems like — like sci-fi dystopia. They want to do something like DARPA, the notorious Pentagon research association called HARPA. It’s going to develop 'breakthrough technologies with high specificity and sensitivity for early diagnosis of neuropsychiatric violence...The document goes on to list a number of widely used technologies it suggests could be used to help collect data, including Apple Watches, Fitbits, Amazon Echo and Google Home."

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