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 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]

okt 282013
Carbon Worlds Likely Bone-Dry and Lifeless

  Planets rich in carbon, including so-called diamond planets, may lack oceans, according to NASA-funded theoretical research.  This artist’s concept illustrates the fate of two different planets: the one on the left is similar to Earth, made up largely of silicate-based rocks with oceans coating its surface. The one on the right is rich in [continue reading]

jul 302013
Planetary ‘Runaway Greenhouse’ Easier Triggered

  It might be easier than previously thought for a planet to overheat into the scorchingly uninhabitable “runaway greenhouse” stage, according to new research by astronomers at the University of Washington and the University of Victoria published July 28 in the journal Nature Geoscience. Illustration of the overheated surface of Venus. Image Credit: ESA/AOES In the [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]