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Exoplanets News

Two families of comets found orbiting nearby star

Paris - Such has been the huge advances in the field of space telescopes in recent years that astronomers are now turning their attention to comets in orbit around stars other than our Sun.

Astronomy: Radio waves key to tracking down elusive exomoons

Arlington - Hardly a week passes these days without scientists and astronomers reporting on the discovery of a new exoplanet — a planet outwith our solar system.

Microbes found growing in a tar pit

La Brea - A new study has shown that microdroplets of water in a natural asphalt lake are home to active microbial life. This has thrown up the re-occurring question of whether such bacteria could exist on seeming inhospitable planets.

Astronomy: Most precise measurement of exoplanet to date

Pasadena - Aided by two NASA telescopes, astronomers have made the most precise calculation yet of the size of an exoplanet — a planet outwith our solar system.

Oceans crucial as search for alien life gathers pace

Norwich - New research published Monday on the role of oceans could help determine whether other planets outwith our solar system are capable of developing and sustaining life.

Astronomers solve decades old celestial archaeology mystery

Leicester - New research from an international team of astronomers from the UK's University of Leicester and the University of Arizona sheds light on how stars reaching the end of their useful life and collapsing in on themselves become polluted.

ESA's new Plato planet hunter will examine a million star systems

Warwick - The European Space Agency announced Wednesday that a new space-based observatory to search for planets orbiting alien stars will form the third plank of the ESA’s medium-class (M-class) science missions.

Astronomers map weird brown dwarf where molten iron rains

Heidelberg - An international team of astronomers has produced the first ever map of the weather on the surface of the nearest astronomical oddity, known as a brown dwarf, to Earth.

Former water world discovered in deep space

Warwick - Astrophysicists from the universities of Warwick and Cambridge in the UK have found evidence of what was once a water-rich rocky planet outside our solar system, by analysing the atmosphere of white dwarf star GD 61.

Life on Earth: Gone in a billion years for want of carbon dioxide

Saint Andrews - But the bad news for any man-made global warming skeptics is: it won’t happen tomorrow, or next year or even next millennium.

New star system discovered in Earth's backyard

A professor at Penn State’s Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds has discovered a binary star system comprising a pair of brown dwarf stars, just 6.5 light years from the Sun. In astronomical terms, the new system is in Earth's backyard.

'Extremely Large Telescopes' could detect oxygen on exoplanets

New telescopes such as the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) soon to come into use will be able to hunt for life by determining whether the atmospheres of small terrestrial exoplanets contain oxygen or other biomarker gases.

Kepler Space Telescope’s continuing mission to seek exoplanets

During the three or so years since launch NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has discovered many new planets outwith our solar system – exoplanets. NASA has announced that Kepler will continue boldly seeking out new celestial bodies, at least till 2016.

Lost in Space: Orphaned planet may help explain planet formation

Using the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very Large Telescope and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, astronomers have discovered an orphaned planet meandering through space without a parent star or solar system.

Astronomers find potentially habitable planet HD 40307 g

Scientists have found a new exoplanet that they believe may have the right conditions to support life. The new planet, called HD 40307 g, is part of a six-planet system.

Study: Four white dwarf stars swallowing up Earth-like exoplanets

Warwick - Astrophysicists at the University of Warwick have discovered four white dwarf stars that are surrounded by cosmic dust from shattered planetary bodies. One star is in the process of consuming an Earth-like exoplanet.

Op-Ed: Top space stories of 2011 – Many more to come in 2012

Toronto - Every day, physicists, astronomers and scientists discover something new about the universe we live – and beyond. What were some of the top out-of-this-world space stories of the year?

Kepler finds exoplanet in habitable zone

NASA's Kepler spacecraft has detected its first known exoplanet orbiting in its star's habitable zone. Kepler-22b orbits its star in the narrow region where liquid water is potentially possible on its surface.

Database of 700+ exoplanets available online as habitable catalog

Arecibo - More than 700 extra solar planets have been discovered since 1992. Scientists suggest that 15 exoplanets and 30 exomoons are potentially habitable, but now researchers have posted the Habitable Exoplanets Catalog online to view habitability.

As exoplanet count tops 700, SETI looks to encounter alien life

According to the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia, a database of new alien worlds compiled by astrobiologist Jean Schneider of the Paris-Meudon Observatory, the total number of alien worlds that have been discovered since 1992, now stands at over 700.

ESO astronomers discover super-Earth that could harbour life

Geneva - Astronomers, utilizing the European Southern Observatory's HARPS at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, have discovered a total of 50 exoplanets, including 16 super-Earths, orbiting nearby stars. This is the largest number presented at one time.

NASA finds six exoplanets orbiting a sun 2000 light-years away

Scientists at NASA have spotted six planets orbiting a star some 2,000-light-years away. The solar system has remarkable similarities to our own.

Earth welcomes 32 new planets

While some scientists may be counting down the number of planets in our solar system, as with the demotion of Pluto as a planet in 2006, European astronomers are taking up the slack.
 

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Composite image representing the close environment of Beta Pictoris as seen in near infrared light. ...
Composite image representing the close environment of Beta Pictoris as seen in near infrared light. This very faint environment is revealed after a very careful subtraction of the much brighter stellar halo. The outer part of the image shows the reflected light on the dust disc,the inner part is the innermost part of the system.
ESO/A.-M. Lagrange et al.
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An artist s concept depicting Kepler-186f   the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant...
An artist's concept depicting Kepler-186f , the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone-a range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the planet's surface
NASA
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This artist’s impression shows exocomets orbiting the star Beta Pictoris. Astronomers analysing ob...
This artist’s impression shows exocomets orbiting the star Beta Pictoris. Astronomers analysing observations of nearly 500 individual comets made with the HARPS instrument at ESO’s La Silla Observatory have discovered two families of exocomets around this nearby young star. The first consists of old exocomets that have made multiple passages near the star. The second family, shown in this illustration, consists of younger exocomets on the same orbit, which probably came from the recent break
ESO/L. Calçada
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Using data from NASA s Kepler and Spitzer Space Telescopes  scientists made the most precise measure...
Using data from NASA's Kepler and Spitzer Space Telescopes, scientists made the most precise measurement yet of the size of a world outside our solar system, as illustrated in this artist's impression. The diameter of the exoplanet, dubbed Kepler-93b, is now known with an uncertainty of just one percent.
NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Hundreds of planets have been found orbiting other stars. Image: An artist s concept of the planet H...
Hundreds of planets have been found orbiting other stars. Image: An artist's concept of the planet HR 8799b
NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon/STScI)
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The PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO) mission will identify and study thousands o...
The PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO) mission will identify and study thousands of exoplanetary systems, with emphasis on discovering and characterising Earth-sized planets and super-Earths.
ESA/C. Carreau
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Artists impression of Kepler Space Telescope
Artists impression of Kepler Space Telescope
NASA/JPL
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Left:  An artist’s impression of the view from a moon around PH2 b (Haven Giguere). Right: the sta...
Left: "An artist’s impression of the view from a moon around PH2 b (Haven Giguere). Right: the star PH2/KIC 12735740
Wange et al
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Artist s impression of Luhman 16B recreated from VLT observations. Luhman 16B is one of a pair of br...
Artist's impression of Luhman 16B recreated from VLT observations. Luhman 16B is one of a pair of brown dwarf objects just 6 light years from the Sun. Astronomers have produced the first maps of Luhman 16B's atmosphere.
ESO / I. Crossfield/N. Risinger
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Artist s Impression of a Massive Asteroid Belt in Orbit around a Star. A news study shows that simil...
Artist's Impression of a Massive Asteroid Belt in Orbit around a Star. A news study shows that similar rubble around many white dwarfs contaminates these stars with rocky material and water.
NASA-JPL / Caltech / T. Pyle (SSC)
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A schematic of a plasma torus around an exoplanet  which is created by the ions injected from an exo...
A schematic of a plasma torus around an exoplanet, which is created by the ions injected from an exomoon's ionosphere into the planet's magnetosphere.
University of Texas at Arlington
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A solar system including six planets around a star 2 000 light-years away has been spotted by astron...
A solar system including six planets around a star 2,000 light-years away has been spotted by astronomers
NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Surface map of Luhman 16B recreated from VLT observations. ESO s Very Large Telescope has been used ...
Surface map of Luhman 16B recreated from VLT observations. ESO's Very Large Telescope has been used to create the first ever map of the weather on the surface of the nearest brown dwarf to Earth. The figure shows the object at six equally spaced times as it rotates once on its axis
ESO / I. Crossfield
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NASA scientists find water on five exoplanets
NASA scientists find water on five exoplanets
NASA Goddard/ESA/Hubble
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This global view of Jupiter s moon  Io  was obtained during the tenth orbit of Jupiter by NASA s Gal...
This global view of Jupiter's moon, Io, was obtained during the tenth orbit of Jupiter by NASA's Galileo spacecraft. Io, which is slightly larger than Earth's Moon, is the most volcanically active body in the solar system.
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
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This rendering shows the size of GJ 1214b and another  larger exoplanet compared to Earth and Neptun...
This rendering shows the size of GJ 1214b and another, larger exoplanet compared to Earth and Neptune. Researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope to reveal cloudy weather on the alien world of GJ 1214b.
NASA & ESA
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An artist s impression of exoplanet GJ 1214b. Researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope to reveal ...
An artist's impression of exoplanet GJ 1214b. Researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope to reveal cloudy weather on alien world.
NASA, ESA, & G. Bacon/STScI, STScI-PRC14-06
image:164718:0::0
The ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) during observations. A reddish laser beam is launched to create a...
The ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) during observations. A reddish laser beam is launched to create an artificial star at an altitude of 90 km in the Earth´s mesosphere. This Laser Guide Star (LGS) allows astronomers to remove the effects of atmospheric turbulence, producing images almost as sharp as if the telescope were in space.
ESO - Serge Brunier.
image:169617:0::0
Artist s impression of a rocky and water-rich asteroid being torn apart by the strong gravity of the...
Artist's impression of a rocky and water-rich asteroid being torn apart by the strong gravity of the white dwarf star GD 61. Similar objects in the Solar System likely delivered the bulk of water on Earth
Mark A. Garlick
image:158975:0::0

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