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Scientists discover super-Earth that could harbour life

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 London, April 20: An international team of astronomers has discovered a so-called “super-Earth” that could contain liquid water, a situation that would make it a very good candidate for harbouring life.

Super-Earth is a rocky, temperate planet orbiting a red dwarf star, Efe news agency reported.

In an article published on Wednesday in Nature magazine, the scientists say that the distant planet, dubbed LHS 1140b, is orbiting an M class red dwarf star a little smaller and dimmer than the Sun but the most common type of star in our galaxy.

The super-Earth and its parent star are located in the constellation Cetus, the Whale, 39 light years from the Sun, thus — relatively speaking — putting it in our galactic “neighbourhood,” according to Felipe Murgas, the coauthor of the study and a researcher with Spain’s Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics.

The study’s main author, Jason Dittmann, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, said that this is the “most interesting” exoplanet that he’s seen in the last decade.

The new planet was discovered thanks to the MEarth-South telescope network devoted exclusively to seeking out exo-planets.

The MEarth-South instruments enabled scientists to measure the planet’s diameter and, using the HARPS spectrograph at the LaSilla ESO Observatory in Chile, they also were able to measure its mass, density and orbital period.

According to the measurements, LHS 1140b has a diameter 1.4 times that of Earth and a mass 6.6 times that of our own planet.

But more important than that are the climatological conditions, and its orbital distance from its star puts LHS 1140b in the “habitable zone” – thus meaning that the planet’s surface temperature allows water to exist in all three of its states: liquid, solid and as a gas.

Whether there is actually water on the planet or not depends on the composition of its atmosphere and other factors, including the presence of a magnetic field, such as the one Earth has, but the most important thing is for the planet to “fulfil the requirements to have water,” which means that it must be in its star’s habitable zone, Murgas said.

Regarding the age of the planet, the authors of the study said that it probably formed in a manner similar to Earth and its star is probably 5 billion years old, about the same age as the Sun, although the age of M-class stars is hard to determine for a variety of factors, the Spanish researcher added.

In the coming decades, LHS 1140b is sure to be investigated much more intensively, an ongoing project for the powerful next-generation telescopes, including the James Webb instrument and the E-ELT device, which will be installed in Chile and — within a few years — will be able to study the system and try to detect its atmosphere, along with other characteristics.

IANS

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NSA Ajit Doval meets Amit Shah

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Image: Defence Aviation Post

New Delhi, June 19: National security Advisor Ajit Doval on Tuesday met BJP President Amit Shah in the national capital and discussed the prevailing situation of Jammu and Kashmir.

The meeting took place ahead of high-level talks between party cabinet ministers, various office bearers of the organisation and incharges of Jammu and Kashmir over the political situation in the state including the impact of suspension of ceasfire operations during Ramzan and others.

Meanwhile, reacting to the meeting between Doval and Shah, AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi poised several questions.

“We want to know, the country wants to know what talks took place when the NSA met the chief of a political party? Why did NSA only meet the ruling party why doesn’t he meet all political parties?, he asked.

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All arrested ‘Hindu terrorists’ are from RSS: Digvijaya Singh

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Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has once again accused Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of promoting terrorism.Citing an example of Mahatma Gandhi killing,Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister said Nathu Ram Godse was also a staunch believer of Sangh ideology and all the Hindu terrorists caught up by the authorities belonged to Sangh.

“Jitne bhi Hindu dharma wale aatankwadi pakde gaye hai sab Sangh ke karyakarta rahe hai (All Hindu terrorists caught so far have been RSS members in the past),’’ the Congress leader said in Jhabua.

While speaking to media at Madhya Pradesh’s Shajapur he said RSS’ ideology spreads nothing but hate, violence and violence leads to terrorism,’.

Digvijaya had claimed that he has always spoken about Sanghi terrorism and not Hindu terrorism.

Reinforcing his stand on “Sangh terror,” he said, “bomb blasts were executed by people influenced by Sangh ideology, be it Malegaon blast, Mecca Masjid blast, blast in Samjhauta express or Dargah Sharif.”

Defending Singh’s charges, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid said that his statements needs to be seen in the right context. “Ideologically Digvijay Singh has very strong views. He has opposed minority extremism and said that every kind of extremism is bad. We must contextualise what he said rather than generalise it and think he is saying it against one community or organisation,” Khurshid said.

 

 

 

 

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SC refuses urgent hearing on PIL over Kejriwal’s protest

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New Delhi, June 19: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hold an urgent hearing of a PIL seeking a direction to the Delhi High Court to expeditiously hear a plea for declaring the sit-in protest at Delhi Lt. Governor Anil Baijal’s office by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and others unconstitutional and illegal.

The vacation bench comprising of Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice Indu Malhotra said the matter would be heard on the opening day when court reopens after the summer break even as lawyer Shashank Deo Sudhi, appearing for the PIL petitioner, told the court that there was a constitutional crisis and a vacuum, and the administration was paralysed.

Sudhi appeared for PIL petitioner and advocate Hari Nath Ram, who told the vacation bench that the matter was listed before the Delhi High Court on Monday (June 18) but was directed to be heard next on June 22.

Seeking a direction to the High Court to hear the matter urgently, Sudhi told the bench that politicians were not above the law and there was a threat to the rule of law.

He referred to earlier court pronouncements by which the strikes were held to be illegal.

The lawyer said before the High Court they have prayed that perjury proceedings be initiated against the Lt. Governor and the Chief Minister for making conflicting claims on the strike by the bureaucrats serving in the Delhi government.

Kejriwal along with Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Transport Minister Gopal Rai has been camping at the Raj Niwas, the official accommodation-cum-office of Lt. Governor Anil Baijal, since June 11.

Kejriwal has said he and his colleagues would not leave Baijal’s office until their demands, which include direction to IAS officers to end their “strike”, action against officers who have struck work for “four months” and approval to his government’s proposal for doorstep delivery of ration to the poor, were met.

During Monday’s hearing, the High Court had sought to know from the AAP government who has authorised Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues to hold a sit-in protest at the Lt. Governor’s office as it was not the place to hold a demonstration.

The bench had said the protesters cannot go inside someone’s office or house and go on strike and as such the strike cannot be held inside the Lt. Governor’s office.

The High Court has been hearing three separate petitions related to Kejriwal’s sit-in protest at the Lt. Governor’s office.

One petition was filed by Leader of Opposition in the Delhi assembly, Vijender Gupta seeking direction to Kejriwal to return to work.

Another petition was filed by Hari Nath Ram through his advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi seeking to declare the sit-in protest at the Lt. Governor’s office unconstitutional and illegal.

The third plea was filed by advocate Umesh Gupta who sought to end the alleged ‘informal strike’ by the IAS officers.

IANS

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