November 25, 2015
KIC 8462852 recently attracted a lot of attention owing to speculation that dramatic dips in the star's light that were detected in 2011 and 2013 by NASA's Kepler spacecraft were due to the presence of vast superstructures created by an advanced alien race. But a new study centering around analysis of data collected by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope suggests that the mysterious objects occulting the star KIC 8462852 aren't the creations of little green men, but in fact a family of comets.
Astronomers have used NASA's Kepler space telescope, in its K2 incarnation, to identify a small, rocky "miniature planet" orbiting a distant white dwarf. It's the first known object to orbit such a star, and its existence is adding weight to a theory concerning atmospheric pollution of white dwarfs.
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.
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."
A team of researchers
from MIT and Aarhus University, Denmark, have discovered that
Earth-sized exoplanets orbit their parent stars in the same way that
our planet orbits our own Sun – maintaining a roughly equidistant
circular orbit. The discovery further narrows the characteristics of
worlds that could potentially play host to extraterrestrial life.