October 16th, 2012
06:17 PM ET

Move over, Tatooine! Amateurs discover planet with four suns

Thirty-five years ago, a scene in the first "Star Wars" film captivated movie-goers: Luke Skywalker peering across the landscape of Tatooine - a desert planet dominated by a pair of setting suns.

This week, reality trumped (science) fiction with an image even more enthralling: two amateur astronomers poring through data from deep, distant skies and discovering a planet with four suns.

NASA's website calls the phenomenon a circumbinary planet, or a planet that orbits two suns.

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Filed under: In Space • Kepler • News
The tech behind the Stratos jump
Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria prepares for his record-breaking leap from the Red Bull Stratos on October 14.
October 16th, 2012
12:20 PM ET

The tech behind the Stratos jump

As high-tech reality TV goes, it's hard to top Sunday's riveting leap from the stratosphere by Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner.

It took courage and skill, to be sure. But the technology required to get a guy well on his way to outer space, then allow him to plummet safely back to Earth, deserves some credit, too.

From the one-of-a-kind Red Bull Stratos capsule to a pressurized space suit engineered specifically for the jump to a "smart" parachute designed to deploy if Baumgartner had spiraled out of control, the jump debuted tech that organizers say could contribute to the science world in other areas.

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Filed under: In Space • News

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