Well, reality took a page from fiction today as NASA astronomers announced the discovery of two new “twin-sun” planets in Nature.
In fact, many millions exist in our galaxy.
The two new planetary systems announced by NASA today are both gaseous, Saturn-sized planets named Kepler-34 b and Kepler-35 b.
They are in the constellation Cygnus, about 4,900 to 5,400 light-years from Earth which, according to NASA, also makes them among the most distant planets discovered.
Habitable planets may be plentiful in the Milky Way
(Planets like Jupiter and Saturn are considered to be a rare find in our galaxy.)
“Our results show that planets orbiting around stars are more the rule than the exception,” says astronomer Uffe Gråe Jørgensen of the University of Copenhagen. “In a typical Solar System, approximately four planets have their orbits in the terrestrial zone, which is the distance from the star where you can find solid planets. On average, there are 1.6 planets in the area around the stars that corresponds to the area between Venus and Saturn.”
Study: Marijuana may be less damaging to lungs than tobacco
The study suggests low-to-moderate use of marijuana is less harmful to users’ lungs than exposure to tobacco, even though the two substances contain many of the same components.
“Essentially with tobacco, the more you use, the more loss you have with both of the indicators; air flow rate and lung volume,” says Stefan Kertesz of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, one of the authors of the study. “There’s a straight-line relationship: the more you use, the more you lose.”
But the findings show the same is not true with marijuana use. Air flow rate increased, rather than decreased, with increased exposure to marijuana – up to a certain level.
Researchers weren’t able to get reliable estimates as to whether very heavy use of marijuana takes a toll on the lungs, since participants who smoke large amounts of marijuana were relatively rare in the study’s research population.
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco were also involved in the study.
Parasite fly might be responsible for lost honeybee colonies
Researchers at San Francisco State University have spotted deadly fly parasites in honey bees that cause them to abandon their hives and die after a bout of disoriented, “zombie-like” behavior.
The discovery could help explain the dramatic drop in the number of honey bee colonies in North America and some European countries.
The massive loss of the honey bees has been blamed on a mysterious phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
While the actual cause of CCD is unknown, scientists have been working to solve this troubling ecological dilemma.
Professor John Hafernik of San Francisco State University says, so far, the fly parasite has only been found in honey bee hives in California and South Dakota.
According to the new study, published by PLos One, it’s possible it is an emerging parasite that “underlines the danger that could threaten honey bee colonies throughout North America, especially given the number of states that commercial hives cross and are deployed in.”