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Exoplanet

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

Space

Exoplanet's orbit is the most eccentric yet

Astronomers at San Francisco State University (SF State) have observed an exoplanet located just 117 light-years from Earth, which exhibits the most eccentric orbit yet found. The light reflected as the planet passed close to its parent star is providing researchers with clues as to the make up of the body's atmosphere, which is thought to be similar to that of Jupiter.Read More

Space

Charge injection device boosts chances of detecting Earth-like planets near bright stars

The quest to find small, Earth-like exoplanets isn't just a matter of pointing an exceptionally powerful telescope towards a star, as one may do to observe moons orbiting a planet. Apart from resolving images adequately in relation to the enormous distances involved, the glare from a distant sun often washes out the image of anything but the largest of planetary bodies in its vicinity. To help combat this problem, researchers at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) have developed a new type of astronomical camera that can detect the faint reflections of distant worlds near bright stars many millions of times better than that possible with an ordinary telescope. Read More

Space

First analysis of Earth-sized planet's atmosphere reveals surprises

Using instrumentation aboard the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have been able for the first time to detect and analyze the atmospheric composition of a distant super-Earth (a planet roughly the size of our own). The findings show that the planet's atmosphere is rich in hydrogen, carbon and helium, giving scientists important clues as to how such planets might have formed and evolved.Read More

Space

Planet with 900,000-year orbit lies a staggering 1 trillion kilometers from its sun

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.Read More

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