Exoplanets

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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.
ESA’s Swarm constellation reveals new rapid changes of our magnetic field, tied directly to the heart of our planet’s molten iron core. ESA/ATG Medialab

Earth’s magnetic heartbeat, a thinner past and new alien worlds

Space research never stops and it seems neither do the surprises. On ABC Breakfast News I covered some huge results from the last few weeks. Be still my beating (magnetic) heart Earth’s magnetic field…
Alpha Centauri is actually the outer star (bottom right) of The Pointers, which point to the Southern Cross. Y. Beletsky (LCO)/ESO

Is Alpha Centauri the right place to search for life elsewhere?

A US$100-million plan has been announced to send tiny probes out in space in search of life elsewhere in the universe. But are they looking in the right place?
Except for a few blue foreground stars, the stars are part of the Milky Way’s nuclear star cluster, the most massive and densest star cluster in our galaxy. NASA, ESA, and Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA, Acknowledgment: T. Do, A.Ghez (UCLA), V. Bajaj (STScI)

Hidden stars, baby planets and blowup spaceships

Each fortnight I get the amazing opportunity to speak about my top stories in space on ABC Breakfast News TV but for those of you who hate early mornings I wanted to make sure you got to hear of these…
An artist’s illustration of Kappa Ceti whose stellar winds are 50 times stronger than our sun’s. Any Earth-like planet would need a magnetic field to protect its atmosphere if it was to stand a chance of hosting life. M. Weiss/CfA

What the ‘weather’ is like on a star can help in the search for life

In the search for life on other planets in the universe we need to find the right kind of star, and it needs to have the right kind of space weather.
If you’re looking for life, you’d do well to look for some moons. Maxwell Hamilton

Eying exomoons in the search for E.T.

As the list of known planets beyond our solar system grows, the search for their moons is intensifying. One reason: they might hold the key to finding life elsewhere in the universe.
Artist’s impression: Looking back 12.9-billion km towards the sun and the inner solar system from Sedna, one of the recently discovered minor planets in the Kuiper belt. NASA, ESA and Adolf Schaller

The long hunt for new objects in our expanding solar system

The search for new objects, including new planets, in our solar system has turned up some interesting finds. There have been a few failures over the years too.

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