Tag Archives | planets


Earth-like planets may be closer than previously thought

A new analysis of data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope indicates that many red dwarf stars have habitable, Earth-sized planets, raising the prospect that the closest Earth-like planet could be just 13 light-years away. Red dwarf stars are smaller, cooler, and fainter than our Sun. An average red dwarf is only one-third as large and […]

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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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Sol System “Pretty Special,” Say Astronomers

Existing models that attempt to explain the formation of the solar system have assumed it to be average in every way. But a new study by Northwestern University astronomers using recent data from the 300 exoplanets discovered orbiting other stars turns that view on its head and indicates that solar systems like our own are […]

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Astronomers Scope The Weather On Extrasolar Planet

Astronomer Joseph Harrington, of the University of Central Florida, has reported the first direct observation of distinct day and night temperatures on a planet orbiting another star. Unfortunately, the extrasolar (outside our solar system) planet doesn’t look to be very hospitable, as the temperatures range over 2,500 Fahrenheit between the night and day sides. Harrington […]

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Telescope Tag-Team Nets New Planets

Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) have confirmed the extrasolar (outside our solar system) planet status of two of the 16 candidates discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope in a 2004 sweep of the sky. One of the new exoplanets has a mass a little below 10 Jupiter masses, while […]

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New Method To Find Extrasolar Planets

The latest issue of the journal Optical Letters carries an intriguing article about a new optical device that might allow astronomers to view extrasolar planets directly, without the distracting and concealing glare of the parent star. This would be accomplished by “nulling” out the light of the parent star by exploiting its wave nature, while […]

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Photos Of Planets Outside Our Solar System Soon

An astronomer from the University of Arizona is using a novel camera to hunt for extrasolar planets. The camera has already made stunning images of Saturn’s moon, Titan, and discovered an object just 27 times the mass of Jupiter. They hope the camera will be the first to directly photograph faint gas-giants similar to Jupiter […]

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