apr 192014
 
Earth's "Twin" Discovered, But Does it Host Life?

  Using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-sized planet orbiting a star in the “habitable zone” — the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable [continue reading]

nov 052013
 
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]

okt 312013
 
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]

jul 022013
 
Red Dwarfs Could Strip Away Protection of Their Planets

  Red dwarfs are the commonest type of stars, making up about 75% of the stars in our Galaxy. They are much smaller and much less massive than our Sun and for that reason a lot dimmer. If planets are found around these stars, then given the number of red dwarfs, life could then be [continue reading]

mei 292013
 
How Ordinary is Our Planet?

  It’s the default premise in science: If you observe something in nature only once, you assume that what you’ve seen is typical. That’s because “typical” is just another way of saying “most probable.” Consequently, ever since Copernicus redrew the blueprint of the Cosmos nearly five centuries ago, we’ve assumed that there would be other planets [continue reading]