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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
NASA scientists find water on five exoplanets
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
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
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
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
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.
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
A solar system including six planets around a star 2,000 light-years away has been spotted by astronomers
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
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
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)
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.
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.
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
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
An artist's impression of exoplanet GJ 1214b. Researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope to reveal cloudy weather on alien world.