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Your search has returned 79 articles:
  • News in Brief

    Hydrogen volcanoes might boost planets’ potential for life

    Volcanoes that belch hydrogen could bump up the number of potentially habitable planets in the universe.

    Ramses Ramirez and Lisa Kaltenegger, both of Cornell University, modeled the atmospheres of planets blemished with hydrogen-spewing volcanoes. These gaseous eruptions could warm planets and ultimately widen a star’s habitable zone, the region where liquid water can exist on a planet’s...

    03/02/2017 - 07:00 Exoplanets, Astronomy
  • News

    Seven Earth-sized planets orbit nearby supercool star

    A nearby ultracool star harbors seven Earth-sized planets, three with orbits that potentially put them in a habitable zone. That makes the system, around a star called TRAPPIST-1, a prime target in the search for signs of alien life. Its discovery also hints that many more cousins of Earth may be out there than astronomers thought.

    “It’s rather stunning that the system has so many Earth-...

    02/22/2017 - 13:00 Exoplanets, Astronomy
  • Feature

    Year in review: A planet lurks around the star next door

    Worlds in the Alpha Centauri system — the trio of stars closest to our sun — have been a staple of science fiction for decades. From Star Trek to Avatar, writers have dreamed up exotic landscapes (and inhabitants) for interstellar explorers to encounter. Now a planet around one of those stars is no longer fiction.

    In August, breathless headlines heralded the discovery of a small,...

    12/14/2016 - 07:39 Astronomy, Exoplanets
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers unimpressed by Earth's newest neighbor


    Astronomers confirmed the existence of an exoplanet, Proxima b, only 4.2 light-years from Earth, Christopher Crockett reported in “Planet orbits sun’s nearest neighbor” (SN: 9/17/16, p. 6).

    Some readers thought there was too much excitement over the new potentially habitable planet.

    Christina Gullion believes keeping Earth habitable in the face of a changing climate is more...

    11/02/2016 - 17:27 Exoplanets, Ecology, Astronomy
  • Editor's Note

    Proxima b deserves buzz, even if some didn’t notice

    Call it exoplanet fatigue. The historic detection of an exoplanet just 4.2 light-years from Earth, featured on our cover, was big news. It attracted a lot of media buzz. But outside the office, I heard little about it. No questions from other parents at the playground, including those who had been eager to chat about gravitational waves and the Zika virus. Even my significant other, a...

    09/07/2016 - 16:45 Exoplanets
  • News

    Signs of planet detected around sun’s nearest neighbor star

    View the video

    Earth might have a kindred planet orbiting the star next door. A world at least 1.3 times as massive as Earth appears to orbit the closest star to the sun: Proxima Centauri, a dim red orb about 4.2 light-years away.

    Dubbed Proxima b, the planet is cozied up to its star, needing just 11.2 days to complete one orbit. But despite the proximity to its star — just 5...

    08/24/2016 - 13:00 Astronomy, Exoplanets
  • News in Brief

    Kepler tally grows: 104 more exoplanets confirmed

    Despite being partially crippled by a series of malfunctions, the Kepler space telescope is still going strong. NASA’s premier planet hunter has found at least 104 worlds orbiting other stars during the first year since its resurrection.

    Most of the confirmed planets are less than three times as wide as Earth, Ian Crossfield, an astrophysicist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and...

    07/19/2016 - 13:00 Astronomy, Exoplanets
  • News in Brief

    Bulging stars mess with planet’s seasons

    SAN DIEGO — On some planets that orbit whirling stars, spring and autumn might be the best time to hit the beach, whereas summer offers a midyear respite from sweltering heat. These worlds’ orbits can take them over regions of their sun that radiate wildly different amounts of heat. 

    “Seasons on a planet like this must be really strange,” says Jonathon Ahlers, a graduate student at the...

    06/17/2016 - 12:13 Astronomy, Exoplanets
  • News in Brief

    Young exoplanet found nestled close to its star

    Scientists have found one of the youngest exoplanets ever, huddling close to a star that is just 2 million years old. Located 450 light-years from Earth in the constellation Taurus, the star is so young that it still has its baby fat — it is surrounded by the disk of gas and dust from which it formed.

    The planet, CI Tau b, is hefty for an infant —  tipping the scales at 11 times the mass...

    05/31/2016 - 09:00 Exoplanets, Astronomy
  • How Bizarre

    Earth has nothing on this exoplanet’s lightning storms

    Hair standing on end during a thunderstorm is a bad sign — it means lightning is on the way. On exoplanet HAT-P-11b, though, static hair might be the least of your worries. A barrage of lightning striking 530 times as often per square kilometer as storms in the United States could be the cause of a surge of radio waves detected from the planet several years ago, Gabriella Hodosán of the...

    05/13/2016 - 07:00 Astronomy, Exoplanets