Decision time? Read Gizmag's latest product comparisons

Exoplanet

Artist's impression from a point in the Alpha Centauri triple star system, showing the new...

European astronomers working from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile have discovered a planet slightly more massive than Earth, orbiting a star in the Alpha Centauri triple star system – the nearest stellar system to our planet. Alpha Centauri Bb (as the new exoplanet is called, the star being Alpha Centauri B) is the first Earth-sized body found orbiting a Sun-like star and was discovered by measuring the tiny wobbles of Alpha Centauri B as it moves in response to the gravitational pull of the orbiting planet. It is orbiting Alpha Centauri B every three days and six hours at an orbital radius of six million kilometers (3.7 million miles). The proximity to the star leads to a surface temperature of some 1,500º K (2,250º F/1,232º C) – hot enough to melt granite.  Read More

Scientists destroy simulated Earths to better understand exoplanets, such as Earth-like pl...

Unlike in old B movies, real scientists don’t scream “Fools! I’ll destroy them all!” before throwing the switch on their doomsday device. At least, most of the them don’t. However, the August 10 issue of the Astrophysical Journal reports that a team of scientists are working on destroying the world - not once, but repeatedly. Fortunately, the world they’re destroying exists only in a computer simulation and its destruction is in the service of learning more about planets revolving around other stars.  Read More

An artist's impression of the Spitzer Space Telescope (Image: NASA)

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected infrared light emanating from 55 Cancri e, a dark, blazing-hot planet only twice the size of Earth and eight times as heavy. This marks the first time that light has been detected from a planet of such a small size, and the find is telling astrophysicists where to look in their search for signs of life on planets beyond our own.  Read More

HD 189733 b transiting its parent star, the 8th magnitude HD 189733 (Image: NASA/JPL-Calte...

Today's weather on HD 189733 b: It will be hazy with high wispy clouds. The wind will be steady from the east at speeds approaching 6000 miles per hour. Daytime temperatures will average a balmy 800 degrees C (1,472 degrees F), while the equatorial hot spot at 30 degrees longitude is expected to top 900 degrees C (1,652 degrees F). But, there is a high chance of silicate snow showers, with accumulations expected except in the vicinity of the hot spot.  Read More

Artist's view of GJ1214b (Image credit: NASA, ESA, and D. Aguilar (Harvard-Smithsonian Cen...

Planets orbiting two stars, giant super-Earths and worlds racked with boiling rock storms - these are just some of the galactic oddities among the more than 700 exoplanets discovered in the past 20 years. Now there's another new class of extrasolar planet to add to the list - the waterworld.  Read More

An artistic conception of  the triple star system where GJ667Cc resides (Image: Carnegie I...

An international team of scientists led by Professors Guillem Anglada-Escudé and Paul Butler from the Carnegie Institution for Science in the U.S. has discovered a potentially habitable Super-Earth that's "just" 22 light years away. The new Super-Earth has a mass that is 4.5 times larger than that of our planet and it revolves around its parent star in 28 days - a star that is significantly smaller than ours. This remarkable new discovery suggests that habitable planets could exist in a wider variety of environments than previously believed.  Read More

Artist's rendering of KOI-961 (Image: NASA)

Astronomers using data from NASA's Kepler mission have discovered the tiniest solar system found so far. The system consists of a single red dwarf star, known as KOI-961 and three planets which are 0.78, 0.73 and 0.57 times the radius of Earth. The planets are thought to be rocky - like Earth - but orbit much closer to their star making them too hot to be habitable.  Read More

NASA's Kepler mission has detected the most Earth-like planet yet - Kepler 22b (Image: Art...

The ongoing search for Earth-like worlds has taken another promising step. On December 5, NASA announced the discovery of the planet most likely so far to sustain life outside of the Solar System. The exoplanet, given the undramatic name of Kepler 22b, was found by NASA's Kepler spacecraft as part of its mission to seek out Earth-type planets in our galaxy. Though Kepler 22b is not the first such planet to be detected in recent years, it is the first one orbiting a star similar to our Sun and at a distance where it is capable of possessing liquid water, which most scientists regard as essential for life to exist. Though this is a significant milestone, the question remains, how good a candidate for a second Earth is Kepler 22b? Could there be life there or is it a planetary blind alley?  Read More

Artist's concept illustrating Kepler-16b, the first planet known to definitively orbit two...

In news that conjures up visions of Luke Skywalker looking wistfully at the twin sunset of Tatooine accompanied by a stirring John Williams score, NASA's Kepler mission has detected the first planet orbiting two stars. The circumbinary planet, dubbed Kepler-16b, is some 200 light-years from Earth and, though gaseous and not thought to harbor life, its discovery broadens the opportunities for life in our galaxy according to Kepler principal investigator William Boruckias, because most of the Milky Way's stars are part of binary systems.  Read More

Artist's impression of the rocky super-Earth HD 85512 b - one of more than 50 new exoplane...

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has announced its exoplanet-hunting HARPS (High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher) has discovered 50 new exoplanets, making it the largest amount of exoplanets that has been announced at the one time. Bringing the number of planets discovered outside our solar system to 645, the 50-planet haul includes 16 super-Earths (planets with a mass between one and ten times that of Earth), including one that orbits at the edge of the habitable zone of its star.  Read More

Looking for something? Search our 28,706 articles