Exoplanets

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Dim red star illustration

CLOSE TO HOME A nearby dim red star hosts three possibly rocky worlds, similar to those illustrated here, that are close enough to Earth to search for signs of life.

illustration of current and future exoplanet telescopes

PUTTING EYES ON EXOPLANETS  A suite of current and future telescopes (including, from left, Spitzer, TESS, Hubble, James Webb and WFIRST-AFTA) could identify remote habitable worlds and peer into the newfound atmospheres for hints of alien biology. 

ring of carbon monoxide gas around a star

CONSTRUCTION AHEAD  A ring of carbon monoxide gas (blue) and dust (red) roughly 300 times as wide as Earth’s orbit encircles the binary star HD 142527 (not visible) in this composite image. The dust concentration might be a region where planetary building blocks are forming. 

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