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]

aug 202013
 
Free-Floating Planets May be Born Free

  Tiny, round, cold clouds in space have all the right characteristics to form planets with no parent star. New observations, made with Chalmers University of Technology telescopes, show that not all free-floating planets were thrown out of existing planetary systems. They can also be born free.   A part of the Rosette Nebula, a [continue reading]

jul 192013
 
Snow in an Infant Planetary System

  The sight of a snowfall can thrill children, but the first-ever snow line seen around a distant star gives astronomers an even greater thrill because of what it reveals about the formation of planets and our Solar System’s history. Artist concept of snow line in TW Hydrae showing water covered ice grains in the [continue reading]

apr 192013
 
Three Super-Earths in 'Habitable Zone' Discovered

  NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered two new planetary systems that include three super-Earth-sized planets in the “habitable zone,” the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet might be suitable for liquid water. Relative sizes of Kepler habitable zone planets discovered as of April 18, 2013. Left to [continue reading]

apr 102013
 
Planets and Debris Disk Found Around Retired Star

  ESA’s Herschel space observatory has provided the first images of a dust belt – produced by colliding comets or asteroids – orbiting a sub-giant star known to host a planetary system. Kappa Coronae Borealis, based on Herschel PACS observations at 100 μm. North is up and east is left. The star is in the center of the frame [continue reading]

mrt 152013
 
Super-Sized Twin of our Solar System Contains Also Water

  Glimpses of a giant alien planet may help to answer questions about its origins and those of our own Solar System.   A team of astronomers, including Quinn Konopacky of the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, have made the most detailed examination yet of the atmosphere of a Jupiter-like planet [continue reading]