Articles on Exoplanets

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Let’s hope it’s barren. NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-CalTech

Habitable exoplanets are bad news for humanity

Last week, scientists announced the discovery of Kepler-186f, a planet 492 light years away in the Cygnus constellation. Kepler-186f is special because it marks the first planet almost exactly the same…
The Automated Planet Finder is hunting planets all by itself. Laurie Hatch

Telescope apps help amateurs hunt for exoplanets

People around the world are being invited to learn how to hunt for planets, using two new online apps devised by scientists at the University of Texas at Austin and UC Santa Cruz. The apps use data from…
The Gemini South telescope – pictured here – houses the latest gear to hunt down and snap photos of exoplanets. Gemini Observatory

Gemini Planet Imager – a new eye to scan the sky for exoplanets

There is excitement in astronomy and planetary science departments worldwide as the new Gemini Planet Imager, housed in the Gemini South Telescope in the Chilean Andes, turns its razor-sharp gaze to the…
Maybe pink planets have life too. gsfc

Explainer: how do you find exoplanets?

Astronomers didn’t know, 20 years ago, whether planets existed around any stars other than the Sun. All that changed in 1995 with the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting the star 51 Pegasi. And by the beginning…
The giant planet Kepler-34b orbits round two stars. Now that’s just greedy. David A. Aguilar

Star Wars planets migrate into position around stellar pairs

Planetary science is beginning to catch up with science fiction. Since the launch of the Kepler space telescope in 2009, a deluge of planets outside of our solar system has been found, with many oddball…
Kepler 78b is a lot like Earth…if Earth was on fire. TORLEY/Flickr

Almost Earth – another step on the road to habitable worlds

Two papers were published today in Nature, each independently revealing that a planet discovered by the Kepler mission is the closest thing we’ve found yet to another Earth. But don’t pack your bags just…
Rocky, water-rich asteroids and similar objects likely delivered the bulk of water on Earth. Now they’re being found well outside our Solar system. Mark A. Garlick, space-art.co.uk, University of Warwick and University of Cambridge

Watery asteroid gobbled up by a white dwarf: implications for life

How will future alien scientists know whether life existed in our solar system? One method may be to sift through the planetary debris left when our sun becomes a white dwarf. Astronomers are doing just…
Not just a pretty planet – Jupiter may provide clues for detecting Earth-like planets. NASA

By Jove! Can climate change lead us to life on other planets?

Thanks to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, we’ve recently heard a great deal about how the Earth’s climate is changing. The IPCC’s cautious assessment of the…
New analysis suggests yes, Fomalhaut b is real after all. NASA

New study challenges exoplanet doubts

A new study of data from NASA’s Hubble telescope shows that the distant star Fomalhaut b really is a massive exoplanet and…
Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to our own sun and appears to be home to at least one planet. EPA/Davide De Martin/ESO

Alpha Centauri exoplanet is the closest ever – how was it found?

Earlier this week, a Swiss-based team searching for planets outside our solar system (exoplanets) published a paper in Nature announcing the detection of an Earth-mass planet orbiting the star Alpha Centauri…

New alien planet could support life

Astronomers have discovered an alien planet which could be the best candidate yet for harbouring water and possibly life…
An exoplanet called Fomalhaut b has been photographed in an unexpected spot – so is it even an exoplanet at all? NASA/http://www.nasa.gov

The exoplanet that wasn’t. Or was it?

A distant planet that made its name as the world’s first directly photographed exoplanet is at the centre of an astronomical…
An artist’s impression of one of 16 new super-Earths recently found. This one orbits the Sun-like star HD 85512 in the southern constellation of Vela (The Sail). ESO/M. Kornmesser

Rare haul: 50 exoplanets and 16 super-Earths found

European astronomers have found 50 distant planets orbiting stars and 16 rocky “super-Earths”, planets that theoretically…
Hundreds of exoplanets have been discovered, but are we any closer to finding life? AAP

Exoplanets: how the search for life became sexy

In the late 1980s, when I was a young whipper-snapper just starting out as an astronomer, it was quite obvious some fields had an incredibly high profile and others were outré. The sexy ideas at the time…

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