A super- earth
Astronomers have stumbled upon a twin of our solar system in which at least seven planets are huddled around a Sun-like star. The system has been spotted by Matt Holman of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in the US and his team. The new system — located 127 light years (1 light year = distance travelled by light in a year; that is around 10 trillion kilometres) away — has seven Neptune-like planets orbiting the star HD 10180. It may have a hidden Earth-like planet too. At 1.4 times the mass of our planet, this exoplanet is what astronomers call a super-Earth. The planet is 0.02 times closer to its star than Earth is to Sun, giving it, in all likelihood, a hellish environment. So even if this super-Earth does exist, humans wont be able to colonise it: the orbit is too tight and the surface too hot (1,900°C).
On a green spin
This trees truly green. A Christmas tree in Sydney, Australia, has been created out of 100 old bikes donated by a recycling company. The entire tree, including the star at the top, is made of bicycle parts and took eight weeks to be put together. With the bike frames spray-painted green and its tyres given a multi-coloured makeover, this tree-cycle stands at a splendid height of 23 feet. On display at a prime spot, it acts as a reminder that we need to recycle, not just dismantle and discard. Thats what will happen to this tree once the season is over. It will be taken apart and recycled yet again.