Cosmic Sparklers

While fireworks only last a short time here on Earth, a bundle of cosmic sparklers in a nearby cluster of stars will be going off for a very long time. NGC 1333 is a star cluster populated with many young stars that are less than 2 million years old -- a blink of an eye in astronomical terms for stars like these expected to burn for billions of years.

This new image combines X-rays from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory Spitzer with infrared data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope as well as optical data from Mayall’s 4-meter telescope.

To make a detailed study of the X-ray properties of young stars, a team of astronomers analyzed the data of both NGC 1333, located about 780 light-years from Earth, and the Serpens cloud, a similar cluster of young stars about 1,100 light-years away. Then they compared the two datasets with observations of the young stars in the Orion Nebula Cluster, which is the most studied young star cluster in the Milky Way galaxy.

The bigger the stellar sparkler, the brighter it will glow in X-rays.

Rare Stellar Fireworks Encounter in 2018

Astronomers are gearing up for high-energy fireworks coming in early 2018, when a stellar remnant the size of a city meets one of the brightest stars in our galaxy. The cosmic light show will occur when a pulsar discovered by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope swings by its companion star.

This was a fun post for celebrating the 4th of July!

Have a fun fireworks kind of day!



Solar Flares And Alien Contact

I love following our sun's solar flare activity. Especially since I'm back to working on my SFR Books. The story I'm concentrating on right now is: 


This book has a setting with a world on the brink of a CME (coronal mass ejection) extinction level event caused by its sun's extreme solar flare activity. Not to worry, a cool alien from an advanced tech culture is about to step in and render aid. Problem is, the race he is trying to help has no knowledge or belief that any kind of alien species exists.

Now on to what's happening on our world:

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare peaking at 2:23 p.m. EDT on June 22, 2015. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. At present harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through our Earth's protected atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.

To see how this event may affect Earth, visit NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center at, the source for space weather forecasts, alerts, watches and warnings.

This flare is classified as a M6.6 flare. M-class flares are a tenth the size of the most intense flares, the X-class flares. The number provides more information about its strength. An M2 is twice as intense as an M1, an M3 is three times as intense and so on.

What is a solar flare?

For answers to this and other space weather questions visit:


Genna Duberstein

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

Keep in mind my story, AN ALIEN PRESENCE, is a true Science Fiction Romance with emphasis on the romantic/sensual connection between two characters from different worlds. Stay in touch for more on this story.

And yes, I'm still working on the Soul-Love series too. Can't let Nick and Krista down! Updates on REMEMBER HIM YESTERDAY are coming soon to the Soul-Love Connections Blog, and Website.



Celestial Lovemaking

If you’re looking to see a fantastic show this month, go outside at sunset and look west. Throughout June, Venus and Jupiter, two of the brightest objects in our sky, are converging They'll glide closer and closer to each other until they appear to form a single bright glow on the horizon.

Their slow dance started at the beginning of the month, with both planets visible low in the sky at dusk and early evening. On a clear night, you can’t miss them: after the Sun and the moon, Venus and Jupiter are the third and fourth brightest objects in the sky. Last night, June 20, the planets were just 6 degrees apart—and even more interesting, they were joined by the waxing crescent moon to form a celestial triangle. Looking at this apparent joining of celestial bodies with the naked eye was no doubt a thing of beauty.

Of course, in reality they’re nowhere near each other—Venus is 67 million miles from the sun and Jupiter is 484 million miles—but from our perspective, they will seem very close for a very short amount of time. On June 30 and July 1, the show culminates as Venus and Jupiter appear just one-third of a degree apart, which is less than the diameter of the moon when it’s full in the sky. They'll be so close, you'll be able to hold up your pinkie finger to the sky and cover both planets at once. This is the first occurrence since 2005.

NASA’s ScienceCast has a video about the phenomenon: The pair will go their separate ways after July 1 when the full moon rises. But keep your eyes on the sky, because July features a second full moon—known as a blue moon—on the 31st. Happy planet gazing!

Talk about a celestical lovemaking!

Thanks to Romance Author Linda Banche for discovering this first.

Read the new post on Soul-Love Connections blog: A SOULMATE KIND OF LOVE



My New Soul-Love Website

The Soul-Love Connections website is finally up and ready for you to visit. Click HERE to view my new site and here's the URL: You can also link by clicking the Soul-Love Connection couple on the sidebar.


Changes Finally Changes

I walked away... 

Yeah I did. And it wasn't because RRP, my publisher closed its doors holding several of my manuscripts hostage, not entirely. Though that was not a good thing to happen it was only a part of it. Life happens and not always the way we want or plan. 

Am I making a come back? Can I do it? Am I ready? I will say this I finally have a whole new view after many losses. read on and see what you think.

When the dancer me took a fall from a high stage rafter, well that took me down a few notches to say the least. While healing from those injuries still another hit. My wonderful parents passed from this earth in the same year. 

More darkness. Upside down. Devastation. Broken heart. Hard times prevail. Everything suspended around me like a dangling participle, forcing the dancer to put away her pointe shoes. Causing the writer to drop her pen...

Yes I did write and publish several books and more were on the way, but... it just wasn't going to happen, not then. But here I am now, here I stand poised and ready to try this anew.

Does time really help? Well my injuries are mostly healed now including my broken heart. The dancer in me comes back from time to time and in her wake new found creativity emerges. Even though I have written a few books none of those words could touch my soul the way that dancer did and still does.

As I pondered what to write next I thought of my parents, how they were together even when they were apart. The depth of their love, of the soul level connection they seemed to share. A love that had no bounds.

Based on the love they had for each other, and laced with my love for the dance, as well as some tear-stained heart-felt songs, the concept for a  novel took shape in my mind. Out of a few ideas and musings a new series was born, it is different from my usual SFR books it's more poignant, more touching, more like soul level love yet with an ever present undertone of  a sci fi destined mates story. And it is now my new focus.

The first book in the series is set in 1960s Boston, amid war protests and a changing counter-culture. Nick and Krista find each other and fall in love. But something devastating happens...       


Musician Nick and dancer Krista fall in love amid tumultuous times in 1960s Boston. Their soul-love ebbs and flows as they experience the offerings of the counter-culture. Yet unknown forces are destined to pull them apart and away from each other. They become lost in different worlds, left bewildered and searching.

There you have it. I will share more of this story on my new website for this series which I will link here as well as other places soon. Thanks to you who hang with me no matter what I do. I am aiming for a happy writing publishing experience. Hope to see you out there.



Starship Captain on Cosmos: Engage!

Are you watching 'Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey' currently airing Sundays at 9 PM EST on FOX and on Mondays at 9 PM EST on the National Geographic Channel? The new series hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a re-tool of Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos: A Personal Voyage' from 1980.

Episode 4 is titled "A Sky Full of Ghosts." It tells the story of 19th century British astronomer Sir William Herschel. He discovered the planet Uranus in 1809 and presented the concept that telescopes are in essence time machines. And guess who Cosmos cast as the voice of this revolutionary scientist? None other that Patrick Stewart, Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Be sure to catch this intriguing episode featuring Patrick Stewart tonight (Sunday, March 30th) on FOX at 9 pm EST and tomorrow (Monday, March 31st) at 9 pm on National Geographic Channel featuring expanded footage.

Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey is a fantastic series not to be missed.

Ship of the Imagination from Cosmos



Melisse Aires at Kensington Lyrical

Refugees on Urloon by Melisse Aires is now available as an eBook. The new cover rocks and definitely reflects the steamy sensuality between Svana and Liam, especially present in the alien fertility festival. Another good SFR read by Melisse Aires. This book is Not-To-Be-Missed.


Two weary refugees, two moons and a life-changing fertility festival. Watch out for a whole lot of sensuality.

Under normal circumstances, Svana, non-military maintenance crew, and Captain Liam Ringel, a highly respected military instructor, would never have crossed paths. A sudden anomaly, however, thrusts them into deep space where they are rescued by the inhabitants of an exotic and isolated waterworld, Urloon.

With no rescue forthcoming, the refugees can choose between adapting to the sea or farming the land. Svana is saddened when her budding friendship with Liam changes due to their different choices. However, when they are invited to an alien fertility festival, the Moonfest, they are given the opportunity to create a memory that will impact and intertwine both their futures.

WARNING: Alien fertility festival, aurora lights, dancing alien beasts, body paints and hot pheromones. M/F Sensual

37,678 Words

Purchase Refugees on Urloon from Amazon

For more about Melisse Aires and her books visit her Blog and Web Site.


Asteroid Near Earth Today Is Closer Than the Moon

An asteroid will sail close to Earth today, flying safely between our planet and the orbit of the moon. We can follow the space rock encounter live online at 

"This asteroid, 2014 DX110, is estimated to be about 100 feet (30 meters) across," officials at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California wrote in an alert. 

"Its closest approach to Earth will be at about 217,000 miles from Earth at about 1 p.m. PST (4 p.m. EST) [2100 GMT] on March 5." 

The average distance between Earth and its moon is about 239,000 miles.

Okay, that's close, really close. Go and watch. Then talk about what you think... 



Ice Planet Earth?

This morning I heard something that was hard for me to believe. The Weather Channel said that January was the third (4th?) warmest January on record. Say what? Warmest -- are they kidding? For sure it was freezing to those of us living in the northeast and many other parts of the US. We froze here. I thought we'd go down as the coldest winter in history. Oh well, perception is everything. Since the US is a small portion of the entire Earth, it may well be true. Sure didn't feel like it to me. And then the new TWC headline was "Bitter Cold Returns in a Big Way." 

Hmm... living in the tundra.

Brings to mind a young talented SF author I know. Moving away from freezing on Earth and to a distant galaxy where humans also exist in the coldness of an icy planet...

"The idea of setting a story on a frigid ice planet has worked for authors in the past, but it can be tricky to make it realistic," I say to this young author.

"I think it can work," he says, with a confident excitement I remember possessing a long time ago. Back when the brush of exuberance at creating my first SF was a heady experience.

His idea sounds super cool, no pun intended. It has a youthful appealing air and right at home in modern SF. Since he has asked me to help him work on creating this story, I asked his permission to share his idea:

The working title is Dome City Rescue. The hero, Hunter, must infiltrate an alien occupied compound to rescue the heroine, Jesse who was kidnapped by warring aliens because she has info they want. Plenty of  action takes place under a Terra-formed dome on a frigid ice blue planet as the two battle the aliens until they blow the dome to smithereens with an illegal weapon. They barely escape with their lives. As they head toward the hero's spacecraft, parked outside the dome, they find it missing. Now they must survive on this frigid icy planet alone.

The Premise:

In the ravages of a solar system torn apart by alien invaders, two young warriors take a stand. Weapons specialist Hunter Jefferies and science tech Jesse Sykes lead a tattered band of youth who vow to defeat the evil Cektod race that destroyed most of the adult population on their planet. Growing up where the young are the only ones left to fight the ransacked battles these aliens brought down on them, they set out to save what is left of the once mighty Alliance.

I think as his working partner, I have my work cut out for me! No pressure. We already have a couple of publishers who are interested in the story. Nail biting time for me.



Cool Andromeda

When I’m creating stories with SF elements I search for inspiration in many places. One such place is the European Space Agency or ESA. It’s a good venue to find research information and fodder for story ideas.

In this view of the Andromeda Galaxy from ESA’s Herschel space observatory, cool lanes of forming stars are revealed in the finest detail yet. Andromeda, also known as M31, is the nearest major galaxy to our own Milky Way at a distance of 2.5 million light-years, making it an ideal natural laboratory to study star formation and galaxy evolution.

The image reveals some of the very coldest dust in the galaxy – only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero –  red in this image.

By comparison, warmer regions such as the densely populated central bulge, home to older stars, take on a blue appearance.

Intricate structure is present throughout the 200,000 light-year-wide galaxy with star formation zones in spiral arms and at least five concentric rings, interspersed with dark gaps where stars are present.

Host to several hundred billion stars, this image of Andromeda clearly shows that many more stars will soon spark into existence.

Following is a short excerpt; something I’ve been working on lately

     Karla remotely adjusted one of Starlab's telescopes and watched the screen fill with a dazzling light show. She maneuvered the controls for a wide angle.The distant spiral galaxy they were observing with its brilliant hues of color, whirling circles of light and dense arenas, came into view. Always awed by Andromeda, she sighed. If intelligent life did exist anywhere else, she just bet it would be somewhere in the Andromeda Galaxy.

This came from my ESA research. Just wanted to share it with you.




Day of Love


And oh has it been a l-o-n-g time since I've been here. But I decided that today the most romantic day of the year for lovers and also romance writers was a perfect day to make a reappearance. It is past time for me to be here and also to be writing again. I haven't written for an interestingly extended period. I do have lots of good ideas begging to be turned into stories. Not to mention those older unfinished ones that just refuse let me go

That said I want to express how much I appreciate all the old friends I made along the way in the past, and hope maybe some of those friendships can be rekindled. You guys are all great. 
Thank you for being there.

Changes are on the way...

Have a great V day and may you all be fabulous magnets for love.



Solar Flares and Science Fiction

A long-lasting solar flare erupted from our sun early February 9, triggering an intense CME eruption aimed squarely at Earth. The solar storm didn't endanger  satellites or astronauts in space, but amplified auroras on Earth, NASA said. The solar eruption occurred during a minor, but long-duration, flare. It hurled a wave of charged particles at Earth at speeds of about 1.8 million miles per hour...

Are we truly safe?

Recently I've resumed work on a SFR featuring a fascinating premise: Could a solar flare or CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) be big enough or dangerously strong enough to cause a planet wide cataclysm? Set in a different solar system where humanoid life exists, the beings in my story are on the cusp of discovering light speed space travel. Something is happening to their sun. Extreme CME activity is increasing way too rapidly and too often.

Coronal mass ejections are eruptions of charged solar material that fling solar particles out into space. Aimed at a near planet, they can cause geomagnetic storms when they interact with the planet's magnetic field. Solar flares produce high energy particles and radiation that are dangerous to living organisms.

Earth has a strong protective magnetic field. But what if the beings in my story were no longer protected by their planet's magnetic field? Or an unknown anomaly causes their sun to go haywire and set off a CME extinction level event? Planet wide cataclysm. How could they save their world? Maybe, just maybe help could come from an unexpected source... 

The most serious effects on human activity happen during major geomagnetic storms. These storms, induced by CME's, usually are associated with flares, but sometimes no flares are observed when they occur. By the time the dangerous flares are discovered by the beings in my story, it may be too late.

The next maximum phase for our own sun is expected to occur this year, 2013. So are we safe from a true disaster? At the surface of the Earth are we are well protected from the effects of solar flares and other solar activity by the Earth's strong magnetic field.  

Lucky for us, our recent CME activity only amplified the northern and southern lights display over the Earth's poles causing beautiful views like this. 

Yet is Earth truly safe from serious solar activity and disaster caused by solar flares in the future? CME's can knock out our communication and satellite grids. But our atmosphere, so our scientists tell us, is intact and our world is safe. 

What are your thoughts?



Rites of Spring Winners!

Congratulation to the winners...

The Rights of Spring blog hop winners have been announced:

1st Place: Kindle Fire

Entry #4 – Karl

2nd Place: $50 Amazon gift certificate

Entry #187 – Chum B.

The winner of the $15.00 Starbucks gift card from my blog, chosen by is:

comment #14 - Diannewp.

All winners have been notified.

Thanks to everyone who enjoyed this blog hop and thanks for stopping 

by my blog. Come back again soon! 



Rites of Spring!

There is a special place in my heart for spring. The Earth comes alive  and love blossoms. It is such a fitting time to fall in love. This blog hop, organized by Jessica E. Subject and Heather Long, is the perfect way for us to celebrate the Rites of Spring. 

Now for the fun part.  To enter the grand prize Giveaway follow the link below:

For more prizes and great posts by many other authors be sure to continue on with the Rites of Spring blog hop by following the link Here

Thanks to all who stopped by. Have a wonderful blog hop!




As seen from space...


Spectacular photos of space can be captured more frequently these days due to the latest state of the art high powered telescopes and satellites that can now find fabulous images. Here are just a few of my favorites from 2012.

This is a composite of the discovered EXOPLANETS, the ones that could possibly be habitable. Now that's something to ponder. (More details in later posts)

SOLAR FLARES, big ones. We are having an increase in gigantic flare activity lately. Do we know why? (More on this subject in a later post)

Here is the CARINA NEBULA. Great name for a beauty like this. 
Can you tell what is actually going on here? (A good topic for later discussion.)

QUADRANTID METEOR SHOWER as seen from Earth. Did anyone else catch this spectacular happening? 
Images like this can lead to great SF story ideas, don't you think? 

I'll leave you with this startling view of Hurricane SANDY as she rolled inland. What a storm that was, lest we ever forget. Enough said.

Special credit and thanks to NASA, and The Weather Channel without which I would have no photos and certainly not enough inspiration as a SFR author! 




Happy New Year!

May all your wishes come true this year.

See you in 2013.




Blog Hopping With Mistletoe Madness

If you like Mistletoe and can't escape the madness of the holiday season, then this blog hop is just right for you! Join in the fun and win wonderful prizes from many favorite authors. You could be the lucky one and win a Kindle Fire. You'll find the links to the other Mistletoe Madness blogs at the end of this post.
Keep on hopping! 

As for me, I have a love/hate relationship with the holidays. I love all the happy energy that seems to be everywhere, the parties, watching all those holiday movies, the special foods, and of course, Decking the Halls with Mistletoe! On the other hand, I don't like all the crowds, waiting in lines and the push-me-pull-you Madness in the malls and stores that is a big part of the holidays. 

Still I must admit this is a magical time of year for me. One of my favorite all time days of the year is Christmas Eve. We celebrate holiday fare such as festive foods with family and friends. And then just as the clock strikes midnight we open presents.

Leave a comment along with your email and tell me what you love or don't love about the holidays. You could win my short sweet holiday story,
A Medieval Yule 

Then continue on to the other blogs in the hop for more Mistletoe Madness and prizes by linking Here and then go Here to enter for a chance at the grand prize, that fantastic Kindle Fire.

Happy Hopping and have a wonderful Holiday Season.

Kaye Manro


Near Earth Asteroid

Earth's Close Encounter...

A giant asteroid will fly by Earth during the next few days, and we can watch this event live via our computers.

This near Earth asteroid named 4179 Toutatis, is approximately 3 miles wide, and will pass close to 4.3 million miles of Earth Wednesday morning December, 12. Toutatis is too far away for any impact threat yet near enough to see through professional telescopes, which will track The asteroid trajectory. The online Slooh Space Camera and Virtual Telescope Project, will both stream live, free footage of the asteroid.

Slooh's webcast is from a telescope in the Canary Islands beginning at 3 p.m. EST today (Dec. 11). Another showing will follow at 10 p.m. EST tonight, with footage from Arizona. You can watch them at Slooh's website:

Both will feature commentary from Slooh president Patrick Paolucci and Astronomy Magazine columnist Bob Berman. "The asteroid will appear as an obvious streak or a moving time-lapse dot across the as a tiny pointlike object, while Earth's spin makes the background stars whiz by as streaks," Berman added. "Both methods will make the asteroid's speedy orbital motion obvious as it passes us in space."

The Virtual Telescope Project — which is presented by Gianluca Masi of Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Italy — will offer a free webcast Thursday, December 13 at 3 p.m. EST, complete with commentary from astrophysicists.

Watch the video stream here:

Toutatis would cause catastrophic damage if it ever did hit into Earth. Scientists think a collision by anything 0.6 miles (1 km) wide could have global consequences, most likely by altering the world's climate for many years to come. For comparison, the asteroid thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was an estimated 6 miles (10 km) across.

Information provided by senior writer Mike Wall and on

Exciting stuff! Go and watch. Then come back and tell me -- what your thoughts are on near miss objects that could possibly impact Earth? 



Shadow of the Dark Rift

Here we are in December and it's getting closer to the winter solstice...

Isn't this the year the world ends? According to several alignment theories,
and also the Mayan calendar, it is predicted to be so.

Thick dust clouds block our night-time view of the Milky Way, creating what is sometimes called the Dark Rift. The fact that -- from the viewpoint of Earth -- the sun aligns with these clouds, or the galactic center, near the winter solstice.  

Here is what Francis Reddy from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has to say on this world ending idea: 

One of the most bizarre theories about 2012 has built up with very little attention to facts. This idea holds that a cosmic alignment of the sun, Earth, the center of our galaxy -- or perhaps the galaxy's thick dust clouds -- on the winter solstice could for some unknown reason lead to destruction. Such alignments can occur but these are a regular occurrence and can cause no harm and, indeed, will not even be at its closest alignment during the 2012 solstice.

The details are as follows: Viewed far from city lights, a glowing path called the Milky Way can be seen arching across the starry sky. This path is formed from the light of millions of stars we cannot see individually. It coincides with the mid plane of our galaxy, which is why our galaxy is also named the Milky Way.

Thick dust clouds also populate the galaxy. And while infrared telescopes can see them clearly, our eyes detect these dark clouds only as irregular patches where they dim or block the Milky Way's faint glow. The most prominent dark lane stretches from the constellations Cygnus to Sagittarius and is often called the Great Rift, sometimes the Dark Rift.

Another impressive feature of our galaxy lies unseen in Sagittarius: the galactic center, about 28,000 light-years away, which hosts a black hole weighing some four million times the sun's mass.

The claim for 2012 links these two pieces of astronomical fact with a third -- the position of the sun near the galactic center on Dec. 21, the winter solstice for the Northern Hemisphere -- to produce something that makes no astronomical sense at all.

As Earth makes its way around the sun, the sun appears to move against the background stars, which is why the visible constellations slowly change with the seasons. On Dec. 21, 2012, the sun will pass about 6.6 degrees north of the galactic center -- that's a distance that looks to the eye to be about 13 times the full moon's apparent size -- and it's actually closer a couple of days earlier. There are different claims about why this bodes us ill, but they boil down to the coincidence of the solstice with the sun entering the Dark Rift somehow portending disaster or the mistaken notion that the sun and Earth becoming aligned with the black hole in the galactic center allows some kind of massive gravitational pull on Earth.

The first strike against this theory is that the solstice itself does not correlate to any movements of the stars or anything in the universe beyond Earth. It just happens to be the day that Earth's North Pole is tipped farthest from the sun.

Second, Earth is not within range of strong gravitational effects from the black hole at the center of the galaxy since gravitational effects decrease exponentially the farther away one gets. Earth is 93 million miles from the sun and 165 quadrillion miles from the Milky Way's black hole. The sun and the moon (a smaller mass, but much closer) are by far the most dominant gravitational forces on Earth. Throughout the course of the year, our distance from the Milky Way's black hole changes by about one part in 900 million – not nearly enough to cause a real change in gravity's pull. Moreover, we're actually nearest to the galactic center in the summer, not at the winter solstice.

Third, the sun appears to enter the part of the sky occupied by the Dark Rift every year at the same time, and its arrival there in Dec. 2012 portends precisely nothing.

Enjoy the solstice, by all means, and don't let the Dark Rift, alignments, solar flares, magnetic field reversals, potential impacts or alleged Maya end-of-the-world predictions get in the way.

And please let me know your thoughts on this!



Alien Planets We Can Love

Wouldn't it be great if we could actually travel to other habitable planets? One of the reasons I like to read and also write science fiction is this amazing possibility. So as promised in my last post on rogue planets, here is the low down astronomers are finding out now. The Kepler space telescope actually hunts for planets and it has enabled scientists to see much farther than ever before. Here's the scoop:

The Top 5 Potentially Habitable Alien Planets

Astronomers have found more than 700 planets beyond our solar system, and thousands more await confirmation by follow-up observations. Many of these alien worlds are too hot or too cold to support life as we know it, but researchers have found a few that appear to be much more hospitable. Here's a brief rundown of the PHL's best candidates:

1. Gliese 581g, this rocky world has been controversial with some researchers casting doubt on its existence and its discoverers remaining firmly behind their find. This planet, which is located just 20 light-years away, is likely two to three times as massive as Earth and zips around its parent star every 30 days or so. This orbit places the planet squarely in its star's "habitable zone" — that just-right range of distances where liquid water, and perhaps life as we know it, could exist.

2. Gliese 667CcG, which orbits a red dwarf 22 light-years away, in the constellation Scorpius. The alien world is a so-called "super Earth" that's at least 4.5 times as massive as our planet, and it completes an orbit every 28 days. At least one other planet circles the star with Gliese 667C, which is part of a triple-star system.

3. Kepler-22b was spotted by NASA's planet-hunting Kepler space telescope in December 2011. It's a super Earth about 2.4 times as wide as our planet. If the greenhouse effect operates on Kepler-22b like it does on Earth, the alien world would have an average surface temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius), researchers have said. Kepler-22b is found about 600 light-years away, and it orbits a star very much like our own sun

4. HD 85512bHD 85512b is another super Earth, one that's thought to be 3.6 times as massive as our planet. The alien world is found about 35 light-years from us, in the direction of the constellation Vela (The Sail). Astronomers announced the discovery of HD 85512b in September 2011. The planet's estimated surface temperature is 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius

5. Gliese 581d, This world, which is about seven times as massive as Earth, orbits a bit farther out than its planetary sibling Gliese 581g. When 581d was first discovered, many scientists regarded it as too cold to be potentially habitable. In the years since, however, atmospheric-modeling studies have suggested that the planet may indeed be able to support life as we know it — provided 581d is warmed by a greenhouse effect.

So there you have it. It is exciting to me to know about all this discovery and space research that is taking place right now. What do you think? How do you feel about fining potential planets that could harbor life, even intelligent life, and maybe life as we know it.