Planetary odd couple discovered
An artist's redndering of a view of an unusual planet orbiting Kepler-36.
June 21st, 2012
05:24 PM ET

Planetary odd couple discovered

The discovery of a planetary "odd couple" is broadening the way scientists think about planetary migration.

Scientists at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and University of Washington discovered two planets of very different sizes and makeups orbiting Kepler-36, a sun-like star under nearly continuous surveillance by the Kepler spacecraft.

"This is kind of an extreme system in that the planets are relatively closely spaced in their orbits but their compositions are quite disparate," said Josh Carter, Hubble Fellow at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who discovered the smaller planet.

"They're quite the odd couple."

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Filed under: Discoveries • In Space • Kepler
CNN launches balloon mission to 'near space'
CNN's video-equipped weather balloon shoots skyward on Saturday from its liftoff point in Peachtree City, Georgia.
June 21st, 2012
03:56 PM ET

CNN launches balloon mission to 'near space'

  • Saturday, June 23, 9:49 a.m.ET update: CNN's ground crew is tracking the "Yeager" video-equipped weather balloon across Georgia. You can track it too by clicking here and entering this code into the search window: AE5JY-8
  • Saturday, June 23, 9 a.m.ET update: Our video-equipped weather balloon nicknamed "Yeager" is on its way toward the edge of near space!

Just about anybody nowadays can reach the fringes of space - if they have the "right stuff."

In this case, the right stuff might include a weather balloon, a GPS unit and a video camera. Destination: the region where air and "near space" meet. Now CNN is going to give this a try.

We're gonna [hopefully] launch a weather balloon and video camera on Saturday, June 23, at 7 a.m ET.

And you can follow our mission on Twitter at @CNNLightYears.

The goal: capture some cool video up there in the rare air.

The camera [hopefully] will return by parachute safely back to Earth. Then we'll post the video here on Light Years.

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