Tag Archives | exoplanet


Radioactive elements may make extraterrestrial life more likely on exoplanets

An abundance of radioactive elements observed in a number of distant solar systems would make the constituent planets much warmer, say scientists who contend that this planetary inner-heat could significantly expand the so-called Goldilocks zone around stars where life could evolve. The preliminary findings, by geologists and astronomers at Ohio State University, were presented this […]

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Milky Way has “billions” of habitable planets

Working with data from telescopes located around the world, an international team of astronomers have shown that planets around stars are the rule rather than the exception and that there are likely billions of planets in our galaxy where humans could live. Reporting their findings in Nature, the team say that most of the Milky […]

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Springtime on Earth II

The Kepler space telescope has identified a large, rocky exoplanet with a surface temperature of about 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees F, comparable to a comfortable spring day on Earth). The discovery represents the first detection of a possibly habitable world in orbit around a star much like our own Sun. The team behind the […]

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First exoplanet with twin suns discovered

The discovery of exoplanet Kepler-16b is the first confirmed, unambiguous example of a circumbinary planet – a planet orbiting not one, but two stars (artist’s impression appears right). Despite having two suns, astronomers say the planet is quite cold – with a surface temperature of around minus 150& #176; Fahrenheit. It is similar to Saturn […]

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New optics capture exoplanet 63 million light years distant

New optical technology has allowed an international team of astronomers to obtain images of the exoplanet known as Beta Pictoris b in the Beta Pictoris system, some 63 million light years away. The discovery, published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, is a result of an international collaboration involving the University of Arizona (UA), Steward Observatory, the […]

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Expolanet storm winds blow at 10,000 kmh

Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have measured a superstorm for the first time in the atmosphere of the exoplanet HD209458b, where carbon monoxide winds blow at up to 10,000 km per hour from the hot day side to the cooler night side of the planet. “HD209458b is definitely not a place for the […]

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Exoplanet orbit tracked

For the first time, astronomers have been able to directly follow the motion of an exoplanet as it moves to the other side of its host star. The star, Beta Pictoris, is only 12 million years old (less than three-thousandths the age of our sun) and is 75 percent more massive than our sun. It […]

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Astronomers cop an eyeful of giant planet’s demise

An international group of astrophysicists have been documenting how the massive exoplanet known as WASP-12b is being stretched, distorted and slowly destroyed by its host star. According to the astronomers, the slow-mo destruction represents a one-of-a-kind opportunity to observe how a planet enters the final stage of its life. “This is the first time that […]

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Exoplanets galore! Four distant planets imaged

A team of astronomers using the Keck and Gemini North telescopes in Hawaii have managed to image three planets in orbit around the star HR 8799 (located about 130 light-years from Earth and just visible to the naked eye in the constellation of Pegasus). To capture the image (above right), astronomer Christian Marois and his […]

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