nov 272012
 
Solar Systems Without Jupiters Mean Massive Comet Belts

  Using ESA’s Herschel space observatory, astronomers have discovered vast comet belts surrounding two nearby planetary systems known to host only Earth-to-Neptune-mass worlds. The comet reservoirs could have delivered life-giving oceans to the innermost planets. Artist impression of the debris disk and planets around the star known as Gliese 581, superimposed on Herschel PACS images [continue reading]

jul 212012
 
Five Potential Habitable Exoplanets Now

  New data suggest the confirmation of the exoplanet Gliese 581g and the best candidate so far of a potential habitable exoplanet. The nearby star Gliese 581 is well known for having four planets with the outermost planet, Gliese 581d, already suspected habitable. This will be the first time evidence for any two potential habitable [continue reading]

jun 022012
 
SETI Finds No Signs of Extraterrestrial Intelligence... Yet

  Astronomers have completed the first search for extraterrestrial intelligence on nearby exoplanets using very long baseline interferometry. A telescope’s angular resolution is its ability to distinguish small details of a distant object. The Hubble Space telescope, for example, has an angular resolution of about 100 milliarcseconds. That’s good but by no means the best. [continue reading]