nov 182013
New Models Aid the Search for Earth-Like Planets

  Researchers from Bern have developed a method to simplify the search for Earth-like planets: By using new theoretical models they rule out the possibility of Earth-like conditions, and therefore life, on certain planets outside our Solar System – and limit their search by doing so. An artist’s perception of the planet Kepler-22b, discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope. [continue reading]

feb 042013
Many Super-Earths Seem to be More Like Mini-Neptunes

  In the last two decades astronomers have found hundreds of planets in orbit around other stars. One type of these so-called ‘exoplanets’ is the super-Earths that are thought to have a high proportion of rock but at the same time are significantly bigger than our own world. Now a new study led by Helmut [continue reading]

nov 082012
Potentially Habitable Exoplanet Found in our Neighborhood

  An Anglo-German team of astronomers has discovered a new planet orbiting a nearby star at just the right distance for an Earth-like climate that could support life. This artist’s impression shows HD40307 g in the foreground (on the left hand side), with its host star HD40307 and two other planets in the system (on [continue reading]

apr 102012
When Stellar Metallicity Sparks Planet Formation

New research predicts the criteria needed for Earth-like planets to form around a star that have one-tenth the metallicity of our Sun. If researchers find small, rocky planets orbiting stars with lower metallicity, it may challenge the presently accepted “core accretion” model of planetary formation. Artist’s concept showing a young Sun-like star surrounded by a [continue reading]

mrt 242012
Happy Birthday Titan!

Saturn’s Earthlike Moon – Target of Proposed ‘TiME’ Mission – Discovered in 1655 On March 25, 1655, Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens, using a telescope he built himself, observed a small bright dot suspiciously close to the planet Saturn. Huygens correctly surmised that it might be a moon of that planet, and confirmed as much by [continue reading]