nov 042013
 
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]

okt 092013
 
Found: Planets Skimming a Star’s Surface

  A new planet-hunting survey has revealed planetary candidates with orbital periods as short as four hours and so close to their host stars that they are nearly skimming the stellar surface. If confirmed, these candidates would be among the closest planets to their stars discovered so far. Brian Jackson of the Carnegie Institution for [continue reading]

jul 132013
 
Exoplanet HD 189733b Appears to be Azure Blue

  Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have, for the first time, determined the true color of a planet orbiting another star. If seen up close this planet, known as HD 189733b, would be a deep azure blue, reminiscent of Earth’s color as seen from space. This illustration shows HD 189733b, a huge gas giant that orbits very [continue reading]

jun 282013
 
Gas-Giant Exoplanets Cling Close to Their Parent Star

  Gemini Observatory’s Planet-Finding Campaign finds that, around many types of stars, distant gas-giant planets are rare and prefer to cling close to their parent stars. The impact on theories of planet formation could be significant. Artist’s rendering of a possible exoplanetary system with a gas-giant planet orbiting close to his parent star which is [continue reading]

apr 022013
 
Black Hole Wakes Up and has a Light Snack

  Astronomers have watched as a supermassive black hole woke up from a decades-long slumber to feed on a low-mass object – either a brown dwarf or a giant planet – that strayed too close. A similar feeding event, albeit on a gas cloud, will soon happen at the black hole at the center of our own [continue reading]

mrt 012013
 
Are We Witnessing the Birth of a Giant Planet?

  Candidate protoplanet spotted inside its stellar womb Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have obtained what is likely the first direct observation of a forming planet still embedded in a thick disc of gas and dust. If confirmed, this discovery will greatly improve our understanding of how planets form and allow astronomers to test [continue reading]