dec 062013
An Exoplanet Discovered That Shouldn't Be There

  The discovery of a giant planet orbiting its star at 650 times the average Earth-Sun distance has astronomers puzzled over how such a strange system came to be. This is an artist’s conception of a young planet in a distant orbit around its host star. The star still harbors a debris disk, remnant material [continue reading]

dec 042013
Signatures of Water on Five Hazy Exoplanets Found

  Using the powerful eye of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, two teams of scientists have found faint signatures of water in the atmospheres of five distant planets. NASA scientists found faint signatures of water in the atmospheres of five distant planets orbiting three different stars. All five planets appear to be hazy. This illustration shows a star’s light [continue reading]

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]

nov 112013
"Old Young" Stars in the Eagle Nebula

  The early stages of a star’s life are critical both for the star and for any future planets that might develop around it. The process of star formation, once thought to involve just the simple coalescence of material under the influence of gravity, actually entails a complex series of stages, with the youngest stars [continue reading]

nov 062013
Inhabitable Exoplanets Might be Unveiled by New Tool

  Funding for SPIRou, a spectropolarimeter and a high-precision velocimeter optimized for both the detection of habitable Earth twins orbiting around nearby red dwarf stars and the study of the formation of Sun-like stars and their planets, was confirmed Monday November 4, 2013 by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) observatory. University of Montreal and France’s Institut [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]