In an astronomical astronomical discovery, scientists have identified what's believed to be the widest known planetary system. Situated about 104 light years from Earth, a planet that could be 15 times the size of Jupiter is in a 900,000-year orbit at a mind-boggling distance of 1 trillion km from its parent star – that's 7,000 times the distance of the Earth from the Sun.
With the number of potentially habitable exoplanets in our galaxy alone estimated to be in the billions, many wonder why we are yet to see signs or hear from intelligent alien life. A pair of astrobiologists from the Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Earth Sciences hypothesize the reason may be that ET could be long dead. According to Aditya Chopra and Charley Lineweaver, conditions on young planets are so volatile that if life doesn't evolve fast enough to stabilize the environment, it will quickly become extinct.
Our nearest cosmic neighbors may be closer than we think. A team of astronomers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have announced the discovery of what could be the closest habitable planet beyond the Solar System. Orbiting the red dwarf star Wolf 1061 in the constellation of Ophiuchus, the planet is only 14 light years from Earth, which is closer than the exoplanet Gliese 667Cc's 22 light years.
Of the many new exoplanets discovered over the past two decades, all have been identified as established, older planets. Some with incredible winds raging across their surfaceand others that may be able to support life because of their position in the habitable zone, but none have been acknowledged as newly-forming protoplanets. Now scientists working at the Keck observatory have spied just such a planet in the constellation of Taurus, some 450 light-years from Earth, that is only just beginning its life, collecting matter and spinning into a brand new world.
Scientists from the University of Warwick have produced the first weather map of a planet outside our solar system. The planet in question – HD 189733b – is not likely to top the list of interstellar tourist destinations, with winds 20 times faster than any recorded on Earth raging across its surface.
A newly-published NASA and Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) study is asserting that roughly 92 percent of habitable worlds have yet to be created. The research draws on data collected by NASA's Hubble and Kepler space telescopes, with the aim of placing the creation of Earth, and the potential for advanced life in the greater context of the Universe.
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first discovery of a planet orbiting a Sun-like star outside of our solar system – 51 Pegasi b. This event represented a watershed moment in astronomy, and since this point, over 1,800 exoplanets have been discovered, with over 1,000 spotted by NASA's Kepler space telescope.
You'd think that a planet with permanent day and night sides would be totally inhospitable. Without a sun to warm it up, the dark side would be freezing cold all the time. And with no respite from the solar onslaught, the light side would be scorching hot. But a new study suggests that exoplanets with this very predicament might in fact be habitable.
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has confirmed the presence of the closest rocky planet to the Solar System. Orbiting a visible main-sequence star 21 light years away in the constellation of Cassiopeia, HD 219134b is larger than Earth and is uninhabitable.
The odds of finding a habitable planet outside of our Solar System got a
significant boost today, as NASA announced the discovery of the most
Earthlike world orbiting the most Sunlike star yet. Named Kepler-425b,
the new world located 1,400 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus
was detected by the Kepler space telescope. It has been characterized
by the space agency as "Earth's bigger, older cousin."