exoplanets

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read that the “first Earth-like exoplanet” has been discovered. With nearly 2000 exoplanets found to date, it is no wonder so many of them will resemble our planet in some way. But which exoplanets are similar enough to the Earth that they could actually be habitable… Read more

Vast amounts of radiation may have left one of the most Earth-like planets discovered uninhabitable. The radiation is the result of a superflaring Red Dwarf star, Kepler-438. The flares occur regularly every few hundred days and are ten times more powerful than those ever recorded on the Sun—and equivalent to the same energy as 100… Read more

Weather patterns in a mysterious world beyond our solar system have been revealed for the first time, a study suggests. Layers of clouds, made up of hot dust and droplets of molten iron, have been detected on a planet-like object found 75 light years from Earth, researchers say. Findings from the study could improve scientists’… Read more

During the past two decades, astronomers have discovered 300 “hot Jupiters,” but for the first time they’ve found one that has two close-in planetary companions. Scientists made the startling discovery using data collected by the K2 mission, an extension of the Kepler space telescope mission. Says Juliette Becker, a graduate student in astronomy at the… Read more

It should become possible within the next generation to detect signs of life on planets orbiting distant stars. If we do find alien life, more new questions will arise. For example, did that life arise spontaneously? Or could it have spread from elsewhere? If life crossed the vast gulf of interstellar space long ago, how… Read more