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Your search has returned 116 articles:
  • News

    Fewer big rogue planets roam the galaxy, recount shows

    Big, rogue planets — ones without parent stars — are rare.

    A new census of free-floating Jupiter-mass planets determined that these worlds are a tenth as common as previous estimates suggested. The results appear online July 24 in Nature.

    Planets can go rogue in two ways: They can get kicked out of their parent planetary systems or form when a ball of gas and dust collapses (SN: 4/...

    07/24/2017 - 11:00 Exoplanets, Planetary Science
  • News

    The moon might have had a heavy metal atmosphere with supersonic winds

    The infant moon may have had a thick metal atmosphere, where supersonic winds raised waves in its magma ocean.

    That’s the conclusion of a new simulation that calculates how heat from the young sun, the Earth and the moon’s own hot surface could have vaporized lunar metals to give the moon an atmosphere as thick as Mars’. The model, reported online June 22 at arXiv.org, offers a way to...

    06/30/2017 - 17:31 Planetary Science, Astronomy, Exoplanets
  • News

    Kepler shows small exoplanets are either super-Earths or mini-Neptunes

    Small worlds come in two flavors. The complete dataset from the original mission of the planet-hunting Kepler space telescope reveals a split in the exoplanet family tree, setting super-Earths apart from mini-Neptunes.

    Kepler's final exoplanet catalog, released in a news conference June 19, now consists of 4,034 exoplanet candidates. Of those, 49  are rocky worlds in their stars'...

    06/19/2017 - 18:39 Exoplanets, Planetary Science
  • Feature

    Life might have a shot on planets orbiting dim red stars

    Our corner of the galaxy teems with alien worlds. In the 25 years since the discovery of the first planets beyond our solar system, astronomers have found more than 3,600 worlds orbiting other stars. A select few have become tantalizing targets in the search for life despite orbiting stars that are much smaller, cooler — and in many ways harsher — than the sun.

    Just 39 light-years away,...

    06/14/2017 - 10:00 Exoplanets
  • The –est

    Scalding hot gas giant breaks heat records

    The planet KELT 9b is so hot — hotter than many stars — that it shatters gas giant temperature records, researchers report online June 5 in Nature.

    This Jupiter-like exoplanet revolves around a star just 650 light-years away, locked in an orbit that keeps one side always facing its star. With blistering temps hovering at about 4,300o Celsius, the atmosphere on KELT 9b’s dayside is over...

    06/05/2017 - 11:00 Exoplanets, Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • Science Visualized

    Magnetism disrupts winds on ‘hot Jupiter’ exoplanet

    View the video

    HAT-P 7b is a windy world. Stiff easterlies typically whip through the atmosphere of the distant exoplanet, but sometimes the powerful gales blow in surprisingly varied directions. Now, simulations of the planet’s magnetic field lines, illustrated here as a rainbow of scrawled marks, reveal that HAT-P 7b’s magnetic field influences the winds, even turning some into...

    05/26/2017 - 07:00 Exoplanets
  • News

    Watery exoplanet’s skies suggest unexpected origin story

    A watery world about 430 light-years from Earth may have had a relatively calm origin.

    The Neptune-mass exoplanet, HAT-P-26b, has surprisingly low levels of heavy elements in its atmosphere, suggesting that it formed close to its star, researchers report in the May 12 Science. That’s different from how the ice giants in Earth’s solar system, Neptune and Uranus, formed, suggesting...

    05/11/2017 - 14:45 Planetary Science, Exoplanets
  • 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