November 19th, 2010
01:19 PM ET

From a Galaxy Far, Far Away...

Artist's impression of exo-planet HIP 13044 B: a planet from another galaxy. From European Southern Observatory.

It's not often I get to write a story that involves "cosmic cannibalism" - in fact before today, I had never written a story like that. But times change, and intergalactic discoveries are made.

Okay, so in these days of hyper-science the discovery of yet another planet orbiting yet another star may not be anything out of the ordinary. Unless, of course, the planet and the star come from a galaxy far, far away.

The rather unromantically named HIP 13044 B is the first planet to be discovered in the milky way...that was born outside of our galaxy. The extra-galactic exo-planet (I love all this space speak!) was spotted by scientists at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. It's 20% bigger than Jupiter and orbits a dying star that first got devoured by our galaxy six to nine-billion years ago. Yes, that' s where the "cosmic cannibalism" comes in.

What makes the newly discovered planetary pairing so fascinating to scientists - and to space geeks like me - is that the star is burning up, meaning exo-planet HIP 13044 B may soon become an ex-planet, engulfed by its host star.  That gives us all tantalising clues about the future of our own solar system.

Given that the planet is some 2,000 light-years away from Earth, it gives the phrase "distance-learning" a whole new meaning.

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Filed under: General • Personal musings
November 19th, 2010
11:08 AM ET

Twitter goes after Beijing

First Google's exit from China over censorhip, and now this. The CEO of Twitter berates Beijing for sentencing a woman to a year in a labor camp for a retweet.

Dick Costolo chided China... via Twitter.

November 19th, 2010
09:17 AM ET

Over and Out There

An enjoyable aspect of working on News Stream (among many!) is the daily challenge of finding a quirky story to round off the show. “Over and Out There” is our attempt to have a laugh or to look at a key news item in a different light.

At each show meeting, the team comes armed with story suggestions – and inspired ideas as to how we should tell each tale. But what makes a good “Over and Out There”? Obviously, there are no strict rules, but looking at the two weeks of News Stream to date, there are definitely some recurring themes.

But we’d like to know what tickles your fancy. What – apart from beasts and big shots – makes you laugh when you read the day’s news? Please leave you comments below – or you can drop the team a line via Twitter.






We aim to entertain, as well as inform!

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Filed under: General