Vitamin D-licious Mushrooms
Getting the dirt on carbon
Making the most of a meal
Tree Frogs
Poison Dart Frogs
Frogs and Toads
New Mammals
Staying Away from Sick Lobsters
Glimpses of a Legendary Woodpecker
Storing Memories before Bedtime
Math is a real brain bender
The Other Side of the Zoo Fence
Tropical Birds
Chemistry and Materials
The solar system's biggest junkyard
Sugary Survival Skill
Pencil Thin
Galaxies far, far, far away
A New Look at Saturn's rings
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Fossil Forests
Ancient Critter Caught Shedding Its Skin
The bug that may have killed a dinosaur
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Springing forward
Unnatural Disasters
Rocking the House
Blooming Jellies
When Fungi and Algae Marry
Toxic Cleanups Get a Microbe Boost
Finding the Past
Prehistoric Trips to the Dentist
A Long Trek to Asia
Decoding a Beverage Jar
Flashlight Fishes
Megamouth Sharks
Freshwater Fish
Food and Nutrition
Eat Out, Eat Smart
Turning to Sweets, Fats to Calm the Brain
How Super Are Superfruits?
GSAT English Rules
Whoever vs. Whomever
Who vs. That vs. Which
Who vs. Whom
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Math and our number sense:
How to Slice a Cake Fairly
Human Body
Sleeping Soundly for a Longer Life
The tell-tale bacteria
Opening a Channel for Tasting Salt
Hermit Crabs
Sea Lions
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Children and Media
Dreams of Floating in Space
One ring around them all
Gaining a Swift Lift
Cactus Goo for Clean Water
Fastest Plant on Earth
When Fungi and Algae Marry
Snapping Turtles
Garter Snakes
Space and Astronomy
Mercury's magnetic twisters
Big Galaxy Swallows Little Galaxy
Intruder Alert: Sweeping Space for Dust
Technology and Engineering
Beyond Bar Codes
A Satellite of Your Own
Space Umbrellas to Shield Earth
The Parts of Speech
What is a Preposition?
Problems with Prepositions
Adjectives and Adverbs
Ready, unplug, drive
Middle school science adventures
Flying the Hyper Skies
A Dire Shortage of Water
The solar system's biggest junkyard
Arctic Melt
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Cousin Earth

As their search continues, astronomers are finding more and more planets orbiting nearby stars. This time, they've detected a solid planet that's just 15 light-years from Earth. Many details about the planet remain unknown because the astronomers didn't see it directly. Instead, they were able to detect how the planet's gravity makes its star wobble a little bit. Out of 156 planets discovered so far in other solar systems, the new extrasolar planet is the smallest one yet found. It's about 7.5 times heavier than Earth. Along with two, much bigger planets, the new world orbits a star called Gliese 876. The planet takes just 1.9 days to complete an orbit around Gliese 876. So, its year is much, much shorter than ours. It's so close to its star that its surface is hot enough to roast a chicken. Most extrasolar planets that have been found so far are big balls of gas, like Jupiter and Saturn. Because the planet's mass is low, it probably couldn't hold onto much gas. So, scientists suspect that it's rocky. "This could be the first [known] rocky planet around any normal star other than the sun," says team member Jack Lissauer of NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. Scientists are still trying to figure out how rocky planets might form so close to their stars. Whatever the answer, the new discovery gives researchers confidence that they will one day find even closer cousins to Earth somewhere in the universe. And, on a planet resembling Earth, they might also discover traces of life as we know it.E. Sohn

Cousin Earth
Cousin Earth

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