Exoplanet News

A Catalog of Kepler Habitable Zone Exoplanet Candidates

January 18, 2017

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Catalog of Habitable Zone Exoplanets

A newly published study provides a list of habitable zone exoplanet candidates from the Kepler Data Release 24 Q1-Q17 data vetting process. In our solar system, the Earth is cozily situated in the middle of the habitable zone which, depending on the model, extends roughly from Venus to Mars. The Kepler mission has as one […]

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Hubble Views Shadow Caused by Possible Planet Encircling TW Hydrae

January 9, 2017

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Hubble Views 'Shadow Play' Caused by Possible Planet

A team of astronomers view a shadow sweeping around a gas-and-dust disk encircling the young star TW Hydrae. Searching for planets around other stars is a tricky business. They’re so small and faint that it’s hard to spot them. But a possible planet in a nearby stellar system may be betraying its presence in a […]

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A New Approach to Detecting Earth-Like Worlds

December 26, 2016

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Searching a Sea of ‘Noise’ to Find Exoplanets

Researchers from Yale University have developed a new approach to detect distant planets and refine the search for worlds similar to Earth. The new approach, outlined in a study published December 20 in The Astronomical Journal, relies on mathematical methods that have their foundations in physics research. Rather than trying to filter out the signal […]

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Astronomers Discover Potential New Hunting Ground for Exoplanets

October 24, 2016

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NASA, Citizen Scientists Discover Potential New Hunting Ground for Exoplanets

A group of citizen scientists and professional astronomers have discovered a star surrounded by the oldest known circumstellar disk — a primordial ring of gas and dust that orbits around a young star and from which planets can form as the material collides and aggregates. Led by Steven Silverberg of University of Oklahoma, the team […]

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Kepler Helps Show What Conditions Might Look Like on Various Hot Jupiters

October 19, 2016

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Kepler Reveals Cloudy Nights and Sunny Days on Distant Hot Jupiters

Data from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope and computer modeling show an approximation of what various hot Jupiters might look like. The weather forecast for faraway, blistering planets called “hot Jupiters” might go something like this: Cloudy nights and sunny days, with a high of 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit (about 1,300 degrees Celsius, or 1,600 Kelvin). These […]

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Hubble Finds a Planet Orbiting Pair of Stars in System OGLE-2007-BLG-349

September 22, 2016

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Hubble Reveals Planet Orbiting Pair of Stars

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, a team of astronomers has confirmed the existence of a planet orbiting two stars in the system OGLE-2007-BLG-349, located 8,000 light-years away towards the center of our galaxy. The planet orbits roughly 300 million miles from the stellar duo, about the distance from the asteroid belt to our sun. It […]

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CfA Astronomers Confirm and Characterize Exoplanet K2-33b

September 20, 2016

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Astronomers Confirm and Characterize Exoplanet K2-33b

Astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics take a closer look at migrating exoplanets. Many known exoplanets orbit close to their host star, within one-tenth of an astronomical unit (one AU is the average distance of the Earth from the Sun). Since their orbital periods are therefore very short and their gravitational influences on the […]

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ESOcast 87 – Astronomers Discuss Proxima b

September 1, 2016

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Planet Proxima b

In this six minute ESOcast video astronomers discuss the newly discovered Proxima b and the possibility of life outside our solar system. The Pale Red Dot campaign aimed to find a planet orbiting our nearest stellar neighbor, Proxima Centauri. Incredibly, the quest succeeded and the team did indeed find a planet. Even more excitingly, the […]

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A Billion or More Jupiter-Like Worlds Could Be Orbiting Stars in the Milky Way

August 26, 2016

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Scientists Compare Jupiter with Jupiter-like Planets

Using data from NASA’s Juno probe, astronomers hope to gain a better understanding of Jupiter and the the many Jupiter-like planets in our galaxy. Our galaxy is home to a bewildering variety of Jupiter-like worlds: hot ones, cold ones, giant versions of our own giant, pint-sized pretenders only half as big around. Astronomers say that […]

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Earth-Sized Planet Proxima b Might be Habitable

August 25, 2016

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Planet Found in Habitable Zone Around Nearest Star

Scientists reveal that a newly discovered, roughly Earth-sized planet orbiting our nearest neighboring star might be habitable. Astronomers using ESO telescopes and other facilities have found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri. The long-sought world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red parent star every 11 days and […]

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Study Suggests Habitable Zone Alone Isn’t Sufficient to Support Life

August 22, 2016

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Planetary Habitability Depends on Internal Planet Temperature

New research from Yale University suggests that simply being in the habitable zone isn’t sufficient to support life. A planet also must start with an internal temperature that is just right. The search for habitable, alien worlds needs to make room for a second “Goldilocks,” according to a Yale University researcher. For decades, it has […]

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Exoplanet GJ 1132b Might Have a Thin Oxygen Atmosphere

August 18, 2016

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Venus-like Exoplanet GJ 1132b Might Have Oxygen Atmosphere

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reveals that the Venus-like Exoplanet GJ 1132b might possess a thin, oxygen atmosphere – but no life due to its extreme heat. The distant planet GJ 1132b intrigued astronomers when it was discovered last year. Located just 39 light-years from Earth, it might have an atmosphere despite […]

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Astronomers Discover a Planet in a Triple Star System

July 7, 2016

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Newly-Discovered Planet Has 3 Suns

Using direct imaging, a team of astronomers has discovered a young Jovian exoplanet within a triple-star system. If you thought Luke Skywalker’s home planet, Tatooine, was a strange world with its two suns in the sky, imagine this: a planet with either constant daylight or triple sunrises and sunsets each day depending on the seasons […]

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Astronomers Confirm Youngest Known Transiting Exoplanet

June 20, 2016

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New Study Confirms Youngest Transiting Exoplanet to Date

Using the MEarth-North and MEarth-South arrays, astronomers have confirmed the discovery of the youngest known planet, only 11 million years old, which transits its star once every 5.4 days. The existence of this infant world was first detected by NASA’s Kepler K2 mission. “Young stars tend to be very blotchy, with starspots that can mimic […]

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Astronomers Find an Unexpected Amount of Giant Planets in Star Cluster Messier 67

June 17, 2016

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Unexpected Excess of Giant Planets in Star Cluster Messier 67

A team of astronomers reveals that there are far more planets of the hot Jupiter type than expected in star cluster Messier 67. The surprising discovery was obtained using a number of telescopes and instruments, among them the HARPS spectrograph at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. The denser environment in a cluster will cause […]

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New Reseach Shows Cloudy Days on Hot Jupiters May Hide Atmospheric Water

June 8, 2016

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New Study Shows Cloudy Days on Exoplanets May Hide Atmospheric Water

New research suggests that as much as half of the water in the atmospheres of exoplanets may be blocked by clouds or hazes. Water is a hot topic in the study of exoplanets, including “hot Jupiters,” whose masses are similar to that of Jupiter, but which are much closer to their parent star than Jupiter […]

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New Models Show That Kepler-62f Might Be Able To Sustain Life

May 31, 2016

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Kepler-62f Might Be Able To Sustain Life

New research reveals that a distant planet known as Kepler-62f could be habitable. The planet, which is about 1,200 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Lyra, is approximately 40 percent larger than Earth. At that size, Kepler-62f is within the range of planets that are likely to be rocky and possibly could […]

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Lund Astronomers Believe Planet 9 Was an Exoplanet

May 31, 2016

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Planet 9 Was Once an Exoplanet

New research details how Planet 9 may have once been an exoplanet “captured” by our sun billions of years ago. Through a computer-simulated study, astronomers at Lund University in Sweden show that it is highly likely that the so-called Planet 9 is an exoplanet. This would make it the first exoplanet to be discovered inside […]

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