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]

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]

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]

mei 132013
 First Exoplanet Found by Using New Method

  Detecting alien worlds presents a significant challenge since they are small, faint, and close to their stars. The two most prolific techniques for finding exoplanets are radial velocity (looking for wobbling stars) and transits (looking for dimming stars). A team at Tel Aviv University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) has just discovered [continue reading]

nov 262012
Highly Inflated Jupiters, a New Subclass of Exoplanets

  There are currently 851 confirmed exoplanets. Of these, 289 were detected because their orbits (as seen from Earth) take them across the face of their host star, dimming the star’s light in what is known as a transit event. The Kepler satellite has provided the largest set of transiting exoplanets and, if the list [continue reading]

sep 152012
Planets Found Around Sun-Like Stars in a Cluster

  NASA-funded astronomers have, for the first time, spotted planets orbiting Sun-like stars in a crowded cluster of stars. The findings offer the best evidence yet that planets can sprout up in dense stellar environments. Although the newfound planets are not habitable, their skies would be starrier than what we see from Earth. Astronomers have [continue reading]