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Exoplanet

Space

Could life exist around ancient red giant stars?

According to a study carried out by researchers from Cornell University, aged red giant stars could harbor exoplanets suited to the evolution of extraterrestrial life. The team used advanced stellar evolution models to estimate the boundaries of the habitable zones (HZ) of post main sequence (MS) ancient red giant stars, taking into account a wide range of stellar ages and properties.Read More

Space

2,325 and counting: Kepler doubles its haul in largest exoplanet discovery ever

Since it launched six years years ago, NASA's Kepler space telescope has provided a guiding light in our search for extraterrestrial life, scanning the sky for potentially habitable Earth-size planets. Today the agency has announced the discovery of almost 1,300 new exoplanets, doubling the craft's previous tally and giving the chances of finding another world just like ours a healthy little boost.Read More

Space

Two technologies that could be invaluable to the search for life

NASA and its partners are in the process of developing two cutting-edge technologies with the potential to significantly advance the hunt for extraterrestrial life on distant Earth-like planets. The ambitious designs currently under development could allow astronomers to cut through the intense disturbance caused by an exoplanet's parent star, allowing them to image the remote worlds directly, and make detailed observations.Read More

Space

Three newly discovered exoplanets prime candidates in search for life elsewhere in the Universe

Using a telescope especially designed to hunt exoplanets, a team of astronomers working at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have discovered three planets orbiting a dwarf sun, just 40 light-years from Earth. According to the researchers, all three worlds are potentially habitable given their sizes and temperatures, and may be the best possibilities yet in the search for life beyond our solar system.
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Space Feature

Artist's impression: How to paint a planet

Exoplanets take many weird and wonderful forms, and we've only discovered a handful of the untold number that exist in our universe. Even though a small number have been directly imaged, most have been identified through indirect methods and in both cases, the actual appearance of the planet is left almost entirely to the imagination. This means that it falls to talented artists to provide an accessible interpretation of what these remote bodies could look like. We spoke to space artist Danielle Futselaar to uncover what goes into illustrating a planet.Read More

Space

Evidence of an exoplanetary system was recorded in 1917

While the search for exoplanets has only comparatively recently picked up steam, a chance re-examination of an old astronomical glass plate has shown that the very first evidence of an exoplanetary system was actually recorded almost 100 years ago. The data on the plate doesn't outright confirm exoplanets in the system, but astronomers are confident that it's only a matter of time before their existence in such systems is confirmed. Read More

Space

A better tool for more accurate planet hunting

A new calibration tool developed by researchers at the Carnegie Institute is set to have a big impact in the hunt for exoplanets. The technology allows astronomers to use a longer wavelength of light when analyzing distant stars, making it possible to pick out false positives in results.Read More

Space

Kepler stable after being rescued from Emergency Mode

It was action stations for the Kepler mission team last Thursday when, during a scheduled contact, it was discovered the Kepler spacecraft was in Emergency Mode (EM). NASA subsequently declared a spacecraft emergency, giving engineers priority access to its Deep Space Network ground-based communications system. The spacecraft was successfully recovered from EM on Sunday morning and is now in a stable state, however, it is still unclear what triggered the craft's brief departure from regular operations.

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Space

Activate cloaking device: Hiding Earth from unfriendly aliens using lasers

In recent years, mankind has become very good at finding other planets. Using instruments like the Kepler Space Telescope, scientists have, to date, discovered over 2,000 planets outside our Solar System, but what if some of those planets are inhabited by beings we'd rather not talk to, much less have drop in? Just in case any potential visitors are less ET and more Aliens, a pair of Columbia University scientists have figured out how to use lasers to hide the Earth from prying eyes by camouflaging its light signature.Read More

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