Articles on Exoplanets

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An artist’s concept of what it could look like on the surface of one of the exoplanets of TRAPPIST-1. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Seven Earth-sized planets discovered orbiting a nearby star

Several of the newly-discovered exoplanets orbiting a small star appear to be locked in an intricate dance that hints at how such planetary systems can form.
Have we really discovered other “Earth-like” planets orbiting around other stars? Understanding what we do and do not know about exoplanets is the key to answering this question. ESO/L. Calcada/N. Risinger/Reuters

Until we get better tools, excited reports of ‘habitable planets’ need to come back down to Earth

Over the last 20 years, advances in the field of exoplanet discovery have excited the imaginations of scientists and enthusiasts alike. But we're in position to know yet whether a planet is habitable.
The discovery of the year was the first detection of gravitational waves. LIGO/T. Pyle

2016: the year in space and astronomy

Colliding black holes to exploding spacecraft, 2016 was an incredible year for astrophysics.
The idea that there’s a moral imperative for humans to expand beyond Earth is echoed by influential proponents of space exploration. Tamara Craiu/Flickr

To boldly go toward new frontiers, we first need to learn from our colonial past

Technology had enabled humans to explore the deep sea, the Earth's poles, and outer space. But we shouldn't forget historical lessons about frontiers in the process of traversing them.
An artists’s impression of how common planets are around the stars in the Milky Way. ESO/M. Kornmesser

Explainer: How to find an exoplanet (part 2)

A look at some of the more obscure methods astronomers use to detect planets around other stars, in the second of a two-part series on finding world's elsewhere in the universe.
In the Exoplanet Era, we are learning that planets abound in the cosmos. ESO/M. Kornmesser

Explainer: How to find an exoplanet (part 1)

Astronomers have discovered more than 3,000 planets around other stars, so far. In the first of a two-part series we look at how they find world's elsewhere in the universe.
Artist’s rendition of one of the billions of rocky exoplanets in our galaxy. Did life once exist on its surface? NASA/JPL-Caltech

RIP E.T. – alien life on most exoplanets dies young

Complex life may be rare in the universe because most planets become either too hot or too cold before life has a chance to get a foothold. This might explain why we have yet to bump into E.T.

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