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Exoplanet

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

Space

Is ET dead – and are we next?

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.Read More

Space

Closest potentially habitable planet found just 14 light years away

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.Read More

Space

First images ever taken of a planet being formed, 450 light-years from Earth

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.Read More

Space

First exoplanet weather map reveals 5,400 mph winds

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.Read More

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