May 16, 2017

New research says exoplanet could support life

M. Kornmesser / ESO

Proxima B, an Earth-sized planet orbiting our nearest neighboring star, could support life, astronomers report in a new study.

Why it matters: Since the discovery of Proxima B was first announced last summer, researchers have speculated about whether life could exist on the "second Earth." It's distance from its star allows for water to exist on the surface but it also means the planet could be bombarded with X-rays and UV radiation. New climate models by researchers at the University of Exeter found Proxima B could be habitable under a range of conditions.

What they did: Using a climate model of Earth, the researchers simulated the climate on Proxima B by changing the planet's speed of rotation, varying its orbit and trying different atmospheric compositions.

What's needed: Actual data about Proxima B's atmosphere. In the simulations carried out by University of Exeter scientists, life's chances on the planet hinge on it having an atmosphere like Earth's. That key detail needs to be determined by observations from probes.

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Australian court overturns Cardinal George Pell's sexual abuse convictions

Cardinal George Pell at the County Court in Melbourne, Australia, in 2019. Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Australia's High Court has overturned former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell's convictions for child sexual abuse.

Why it matters: Pell became last year the highest-ranking Catholic Church official to go to trial and be convicted for sex abuse. But the High Court's quashing of the verdict means he will immediately stop serving the six-year prison sentence imposed on him in March last year.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll tops 10,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 10,000 in the U.S. on Monday, per Johns Hopkins data. More than 1,000 people in the U.S. have died of coronavirus-related conditions each day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday this week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 44 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,341,907 — Total deaths: 74,476 — Total recoveries: 275,851Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 364,723— Total deaths: 10,781 — Total recoveries: 19,346Map.
  3. 2020 update: Wisconsin governor orders in-person primary voting delayed until June.
  4. States latest: West Coast states send ventilators to New York and other states with more immediate need — Data suggest coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  5. World update: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen.
  6. Stocks latest: The S&P 500 closed up 7% on Monday, while the Dow rose more than 1,500 points.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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