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]

okt 122013
Finding Life on Exoplanets may be Harder than Thought

  Finding life on exoplanets may be more difficult than people thought, said Feng Tian, a professor at the Center for Earth System Science at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. The report was presented October 7th to the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Denver, CO. The result is of special interest [continue reading]

sep 112013
Detecting Biomarkers on Exoplanets

  On Earth, life leaves tell-tale signals in the atmosphere. Photosynthesis is ultimately responsible for the high oxygen levels and the thick ozone layer. Microbes emit methane and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere, and seaweeds emit chloromethane gas. These chemicals, when present in sufficient quantities, are indicators of life and are known as atmospheric biomarkers. [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]

mrt 192013
Black Hole and Star Orbit Each Other at Dizzying Speed

  ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope has helped to identify a star and a black hole that orbit each other at the dizzying rate of once every 2.4 hours, smashing the previous record by nearly an hour. Black hole-star pair orbiting at dizzying speed. Image Credit: ESA The black hole in this compact pairing, known as [continue reading]