jan 072013
15 New Planet Candidates in Habitable Zones Discovered

  Volunteers from the Planethunters.org website, part of the Oxford University-led Zooniverse project, have discovered 15 new planet candidates orbiting in the habitable zones of other stars. Artist’s impression of the view from a moon around planet PH2b. Image Credit: Haven Giguere Added to the 19 similar planets already discovered in habitable zones, where the [continue reading]

nov 022012
Asteroid Belts at the Right Place Needed for Complex Life?

  Solar systems with life-bearing planets may be rare if they are dependent on the presence of asteroid belts of just the right mass, according to a study by Rebecca Martin, a NASA Sagan Fellow from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and astronomer Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md.  [continue reading]

aug 172012
Magnesium Plays an Important Role in Planet Formation

  An international team, led by EXOEarths researchers of the Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto (CAUP), proposes that metals like Magnesium might have an important role in the formation of low mass planets. A swirling disk of planet-building dust. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC) The team, lead by CAUP researcher Vardan Zh. Adibekyan, [continue reading]

jun 032012
A Study of 63 Hot Jupiter Systems

  Jason H. Steffen from the Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics et al submitted to The Astrophysical Journal an article entitled “Kepler constraints on planets near hot Jupiters,” a sample study of 63 Hot Jupiter systems. Artist’s concept of a “hot Jupiter” (HD 149026b). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech   They found that in planetary systems with Jupiter-size planet candidates in [continue reading]

jun 032012
Astronomers Confirm 'Evaporating' Planet Around Nearby Star

  Astronomers from The University of Texas at Austin and Wesleyan University have used the Hobby-Eberly Telescope at UT Austin’s McDonald Observatory to confirm that a Jupiter-size planet in a nearby solar system is dissolving, albeit excruciatingly slowly, because of interactions with its parent star. Their findings could help astronomers better understand star-planet interactions in [continue reading]