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Your search has returned 104 articles:
  • News in Brief

    Swirling gases reveal baby planets in a young star’s disk

    Baby planets growing in a disk of gas and dust around an infant star have been identified and weighed for the first time. In papers published June 13 in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, two teams of astronomers describe a new technique to observe the newborn planets with unprecedented precision.

    One team, led by Richard Teague of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, found two...

    06/14/2018 - 11:00 Exoplanets, Astronomy
  • Science Ticker

    Take a virtual trip to an alien world

    If you’re looking for starry skies, exotic plant life and extreme weather on your summer vacation, NASA’s Exoplanet Travel Bureau has just the spot. Consider a trip to Kepler 186f.

    This extrasolar planet is nearly 558 light-years away, so a real trip may be out of your budget — and astronomers aren’t sure if the sphere even has a life-sustaining atmosphere. But NASA’s Exoplanet...

    06/04/2018 - 10:00 Exoplanets, Astronomy
  • Feature

    The recipes for solar system formation are getting a rewrite

    With a mortar and pestle, Christy Till blends together the makings of a distant planet. In her geology lab at Arizona State University in Tempe, Till carefully measures out powdered minerals, tips them into a metal capsule and bakes them in a high-pressure furnace that can reach close to 35,000 times Earth’s atmospheric pressure and 2,000° Celsius.

    In this interplanetary test kitchen,...

    05/11/2018 - 09:00 Exoplanets, Planetary Science, Astronomy
  • Science Ticker

    NASA’s TESS spacecraft launches to begin its exoplanet search

    After a two-day delay, the planet-hunting TESS telescope successfully launched into a clear blue sky at Cape Canaveral, Fla., at 6:51 p.m. EDT on April 18.

    TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, is headed to an orbit between the Earth and the moon, a journey that will take about two months. In its first two years, the telescope will seek planets orbiting 200,000 nearby, bright...

    04/18/2018 - 19:36 Exoplanets
  • News

    With the launch of TESS, NASA will boost its search for exoplanets

    NASA is stepping up its search for planets outside our solar system. Its next exoplanet hunting telescope, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), is due to launch from Cape Canaveral on the evening of April 16.

    Following the Kepler space telescope’s discovery of more than 5,000 possible exoplanets since 2009, TESS will continue the galactic census — flagging more planetary...

    04/12/2018 - 07:00 Astronomy, Exoplanets
  • News in Brief

    We probably won’t hear from aliens. But by the time we do, they’ll be dead.

    If signals from an alien civilization ever reach Earth, odds are the aliens will already be dead.

    In an effort to update the 1961 Drake Equation, which estimates the number of detectable, intelligent civilizations in the Milky Way, physicist Claudio Grimaldi and colleagues calculated the area of the galaxy that should be filled with alien signals at a given time (SN Online: 11/1/09)....

    03/12/2018 - 12:00 Astronomy, Astrobiology, Exoplanets
  • News

    Massive stellar flare may have fried Earth’s nearest exoplanet

    Proxima Centauri has a temper. Earth’s nearest planet-hosting neighbor released a gigantic flare in March 2017, a new analysis of observations of the star shows. And that’s bad news for the potential for life on the star’s planet, Proxima b.

    The star got 1,000 times brighter over 10 seconds before dimming again. That can best be explained by an enormous stellar flare, astronomer Meredith...

    03/05/2018 - 07:00 Astronomy, Exoplanets
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers weigh in on human gene editing and more

    Mission: Mars

    The possibility that human visitors could carry Earth-based microbes to the Red Planet has roiled the Mars research community, Lisa Grossman reported in “How to keep humans from ruining the search for life on Mars” (SN: 1/20/18, p. 22).

    Reader Bruce Merchant speculated that Mars would need a protective global magnetic field to sustain a life-friendly environment. But...

    02/22/2018 - 10:39 Planetary Science, Exoplanets, Science & Society
  • News

    What will it take to go to Venus?

    There’s a planet just next door that could explain the origins of life in the universe. It was probably once covered in oceans (SN Online: 8/1/17). It may have been habitable for billions of years (SN Online: 8/26/16). Astronomers are desperate to land spacecraft there.

    No, not Mars. That tantalizing planet is Venus. But despite all its appeal, Venus is one of the hardest places in the...

    02/13/2018 - 07:00 Planetary Science, Exoplanets
  • News

    Some of TRAPPIST-1’s planets could have life-friendly atmospheres

    It’s still too early to pack your bags for TRAPPIST-1. But two new studies probe the likely compositions of the seven Earth-sized worlds orbiting the cool, dim star, and some are looking better and better as places to live (SN: 3/18/17, p. 6).

    New mass measurements suggest that the septet probably have rocky surfaces and possibly thin atmospheres, researchers report February 5 in...

    02/05/2018 - 11:00 Astronomy, Exoplanets