NANTES, France — A team of researchers led by Bill Cochran of The University of Texas at Austin has used NASA’s Kepler spacecraft to discover an unusual multiple-planet system containing a super-Earth and two Neptune-sized planets orbiting in resonance with each other. They will announce the find today in Nantes, France at a joint meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Science and the European Planetary Science Conference.
FORT DAVIS, Texas —Astronomers at The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory have discovered a pair of burnt-out stars spiraling into one another at breakneck speeds. Orbiting each other in just 13 minutes, they will merge and possibly explode as a supernova in about 900,000 years. By watching them over time, scientists will test both Einstein’s theory of general relativity and the origin of some peculiar supernovae.