'Super-Earth,' 1 of 50 Newfound Alien Planets, Could Potentially Support Life (Source: Yahoo! News)

More than 50 new alien planets — including one so-called super-Earth that could potentially support life — have been discovered by an exoplanet-hunting telescope from the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

The newfound haul of alien planets includes 16 super-Earths, which are potentially rocky worlds that are more massive than our planet. One in particular - called HD 85512 b - has captured astronomers' attention because it orbits at the edge of its star's habitable zone, suggesting conditions could be ripe to support life.

The exoplanet findings came from observations from the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher instrument, or HARPS. The HARPS spectrograph is part of ESO's 11.8-foot (3.6-meter) telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. [Illustration and video of alien planet HD 85512 b]

“The harvest of discoveries from HARPS has exceeded all expectations and includes an exceptionally rich population of super-Earths and Neptune-type planets hosted by stars very similar to our sun," HARPS team leader Michel Mayor of the University of Geneva in Switzerland said in a statement. "And even better — the new results show that the pace of discovery is accelerating."

The potentially habitable super-Earth, officially called HD 85512 b, is estimated to be only 3.6 times more massive than Earth, and its parent star is located about 35 light-years away, making it relatively nearby. HD 85512 b was found to orbit at the edge of its star's habitable zone, which is a narrow region in which the distance is just right that liquid water could exist given the right conditions.


New Lie Detector Unveiled (Source: ITN)

Scientists are hoping they can catch out poker-faced liars thanks to a new technique.

The team at the University of Bradford uses two cameras and a computer to try and observe slight changes in facial expression and blood flow.

One camera looks for give-away signs of deceit such as lip-biting, nose-wrinkling, blinking and slips of the tongue.

The second thermal imaging one measures flushing and blood-flow patterns around the eyes.

The group's leader, Professor Hassan Ugail, said he did not believe the polygraph was "21st-century technology" and hoped there would be a big demand for the new system, which can be hidden out of sight.

He said: "Our aim was to develop a purely non-invasive lie detector technology. We assumed this could be used in a covert situation, where the person we are monitoring potentially knows nothing about it."

The team hopes to hold a trial soon at a UK airport.


Best Moonwalk Tutorial (YouTube)

How to do the moonwalk like Michael Jackson instructional video.

On This Day: The US Government Takes Out Its First Loan (on-this-day.com)

1789 - The United States Government took out its first loan.


Today Is National Chocolate Day (Candy Dish Blog)

September 13th is International Chocolate Day, so we here at NCA are celebrating the mysteries and joys of chocolate. Actually, that is a daily occurrence for us, but now is an opportune time to talk about it a little more. Here are some interesting facts about chocolate:


- Chocolate is America's favorite flavor. A recent survey revealed that 52 percent of U.S. adults said they like chocolate best. The second favorite flavor was a tie (at 12 percent each) between berry flavors and vanilla.

- U.S. chocolate manufacturers currently use 40 percent of the almonds produced in the United States and 25 percent of domestic peanuts.

- U.S. chocolate manufacturers use about 3.5 million pounds of whole milk every day to make chocolate.

- Fifty-three percent of adults aged 55 or older prefer dark chocolate while thirty-seven percent favor milk chocolate. The younger crowd is different, with fifty-five percent of people aged 18-34 choosing milk chocolate and only thirty-one percent preferring dark.

- The melting point of cocoa butter is just below the human body temperature (98.6 degrees) — which is why it literally melts in your mouth.

- Older children are significantly more likely to prefer chocolate than younger children (59 percent of 9-11year-olds prefer chocolate vs. 46 percent of 6-8 year-olds), according to an NCA survey.