2 Earth-sized worlds revealed beyond our solar system | CNN

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There are over 5,000 known worlds beyond our solar system.

Since the 1990s, astronomers have used ground-based and space-based telescopes to search for signs of planets beyond our little corner of the universe.

Exoplanets are notoriously difficult to image directly because they are so far away from Earth.

But scientists know the signs, looking for star wobbles as orbiting planets use their gravitational pull, or dips in starlight as planets pass in front of their stellar hosts.

Chances are there are hundreds of billions more exoplanets just waiting to be discovered.

Part of the excitement around the James Webb Space Telescope is its ability to peer inside the atmospheres of potentially habitable planets and discover new worlds. This week, the space observatory has certainly delivered.

The Webb Telescope has confirmed the existence of an exoplanet for the first time since the space observatory launched in December 2021.

The world, known as LHS 475 b, is almost exactly the same size as Earth and located 41 light-years away in the constellation Octans.

Scientists can’t yet determine if the planet has an atmosphere, but the telescope’s sensitive capabilities have detected a range of molecules. Webb will have another chance this summer to observe the planet to build on that data.

The exoplanet was just one of Webb’s cosmic discoveries announced this week at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle. Plus, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, mission has spied a second Earth-sized exoplanet in an intriguing planetary system 100 light-years away — and the world just might be potentially habitable.

A year after the powerful eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano, scientists are still learning more surprising aftermaths of the event.

The explosion triggered more than 25,500 lightning strikes in just five minutes, according to a new report. The event also triggered nearly 400,000 lightning strikes in six hours and accounted for half of all lightning strikes worldwide at the height of the eruption.

But what’s even more surprising is that the January 2022 eruption was just one factor in a year of extremes for lightning across the globe.

Resin from trees imprisoned this flower almost 40 million years ago.

Blooming flowers are notoriously short-lived, but one specimen nearly 40 million years old remains trapped in amber and frozen in time.

Researchers have taken another look at the extraordinary amber fossil, which was first documented in 1872. It is the largest flower known to be fossilized in amber at 1.1 inches (28 millimeters ) of diameter.

Scientists were able to extract some of the flower’s pollen and found that it was related to a group of modern plants.

Meanwhile, archaeologists have discovered eight prehistoric ostrich eggs near an ancient hearth in Israel.

Russian Space Agency Roscosmos will launch an uncrewed replacement spacecraft to the International Space Station as a return vehicle for three crew members after their Soyuz capsule was damaged in December.

Cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio flew to the space station in September.

A commission determined that the damage to the Soyuz radiator pipeline was caused by a micrometeoroid impact, which created a hole less than 1 millimeter in diameter, according to Roscosmos.

The crew members remain in good health, but their return to Earth – which has not been determined – will be delayed by at least several months.

Meanwhile, Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket attempted to launch from the UK, and California start-up ABL Space Systems set out to launch its RS1 rocket from Alaska. Both rockets failed and investigations are underway to determine what went wrong.

A Qatar Airways Airbus A340 leaves contrails in the sky.

The contrails that flow behind the planes that crisscross our skies every day may seem harmless, but those wispy clouds of ice are actually bad for the environment.

Contrails, which form when ice crystals cluster around small particles emitted from jet engines, trap more heat than carbon dioxide emissions from burning fuel. The longevity of contrails depends on atmospheric conditions.

Slightly modifying specific flight paths could help reduce damage, researchers believe.

Read these stories before you go:

— An unusually bright star may have been bombarded with dust by a mysterious stellar companion for years.

— Europe’s ‘bog bodies’, these incredibly well-preserved mummies and skeletons discovered mired in peat and wetlands, reveal some of the brutal realities of prehistoric life.

— Astronomers have spotted the closest pair of supermassive black holes ever seen across multiple wavelengths of light. Cosmic bodies were brought together by colliding galaxies.

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