Exoplanets/Moons & Habitability

Habitable Planets Around Sun-Like Stars are Common

Habitable Planets Around Sun-Like Stars are Common

  Astronomers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the University of California, Berkeley now estimate that one in five stars like our Sun have planets about the size of Earth and a surface temperature conducive to life. This conclusion is based on a statistical analysis of all observations from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope. [continue reading]

Compact 'Twin' Solar System Discovered

Compact ‘Twin’ Solar System Discovered

  A team of astrophysicists at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und- Raumfahrt; DLR), together with German and other European colleagues, has discovered the most extensive planetary system to date. Seven planets circle the star KOI-351 – more than in other known planetary systems. They are arranged in a similar fashion to the [continue reading]

First Earth-Sized, Rocky Exoplanet Found

First Earth-Sized, Rocky Exoplanet Found

  A team of astronomers has found the first Earth-sized planet outside the Solar System that has a rocky composition like that of Earth. This exoplanet, known as Kepler-78b, orbits its star very closely every 8.5 hours, making it much too hot to support life. The results are being published in the journal Nature. This Earth-sized [continue reading]

Carbon Worlds Likely Bone-Dry and Lifeless

Carbon Worlds Likely Bone-Dry and Lifeless

  Planets rich in carbon, including so-called diamond planets, may lack oceans, according to NASA-funded theoretical research.  This artist’s concept illustrates the fate of two different planets: the one on the left is similar to Earth, made up largely of silicate-based rocks with oceans coating its surface. The one on the right is rich in [continue reading]

Finding Life on Exoplanets may be Harder than Thought

Finding Life on Exoplanets may be Harder than Thought

  Finding life on exoplanets may be more difficult than people thought, said Feng Tian, a professor at the Center for Earth System Science at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. The report was presented October 7th to the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Denver, CO. The result is of special interest [continue reading]

Water-rich Building Blocks Show Signs of Possible Past Life

Water-rich Building Blocks Show Signs of Possible Past Life

  Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have found the building blocks of solid exoplanets that are capable of having substantial amounts of water. This rocky debris, currently orbiting a white dwarf star called GD 61, is considered a relic of an exoplanetary system that survived the burnout of its parent star. The finding suggests [continue reading]