Extrasolar Planets

Extrasolar Planets News -- ScienceDaily Extrasolar Planet News. Astronomers discover extrasolar planets in a nearby star system. Could extrasolar planets support life? Images, full-text articles. Free.

  • Space dust may transport life between worlds, research suggests
    on November 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Life on Earth might have originated from tiny organisms brought to our planet in streams of fast-moving space dust, according to a new study. […]

  • Lava or not, exoplanet 55 Cancri e likely to have atmosphere
    on November 16, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Twice as big as Earth, the super-Earth 55 Cancri e was thought to have lava flows on its surface. Now, a new analysis finds this planet likely has an atmosphere whose ingredients could be similar to those of Earth's atmosphere, but thicker. […]

  • Closest temperate world orbiting quiet star discovered
    on November 15, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    A temperate Earth-sized planet has been discovered only 11 light-years from the solar system by a team using ESO's unique planet-hunting HARPS instrument. The new world has the designation Ross 128 b and is now the second-closest temperate planet to be detected after Proxima b. It is also the closest planet to be discovered orbiting an inactive red dwarf star, which may increase the likelihood that this planet could potentially sustain life. […]

  • Red giant star gives a surprising glimpse of the sun's future
    on November 7, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Astronomers have for the first time observed details on the surface of an aging star with the same mass as the sun. ALMA's images show that the star is a giant, its diameter twice the size of Earth's orbit around the sun, but also that the star's atmosphere is affected by powerful, unexpected shock waves. […]

  • Atmospheric beacons guide NASA scientists in search for life
    on November 2, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    New NASA research proposes a novel approach to sniffing out exoplanet atmospheres. It takes advantage of frequent stellar storms from cool, young dwarf stars to highlight signs of possible life. […]

  • Overlooked Treasure: The First Evidence of Exoplanets
    on November 1, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    Mount Wilson is the site where some of the key discoveries about our galaxy and universe were made in the early 20th century. But there is a far lesser known, 100-year-old discovery from Mount Wilson -- one that was unidentified and unappreciated until recently: the first evidence of exoplanets. […]

  • NASA investigates invisible magnetic bubbles in outer solar system
    on November 1, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    Forty years ago, the twin Voyagers spacecraft were launched to explore the frontiers of our solar system, and have since made countless discoveries, including finding magnetic bubbles around two of the outer planets. […]

  • 'Monster' planet discovery challenges formation theory
    on October 31, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    A giant planet, which should not exist according to planet formation theory, has been discovered around a distant star. […]

  • Astronomers discover sunscreen snow falling on hot exoplanet
    on October 26, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    Astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope to find a blistering-hot giant planet outside our solar system where the atmosphere 'snows' titanium dioxide -- the active ingredient in sunscreen. These observations are the first detections of this 'snow-out' process, called a 'cold trap,' on an exoplanet. The research provides insight into the complexity of weather and atmospheric composition on exoplanets, and may someday be useful for gauging the habitability of Earth-size planets. […]

  • Scientists detect comets outside our solar system
    on October 26, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    Scientists, working closely with amateur astronomers, have spotted the dusty tails of six exocomets -- comets outside our solar system -- orbiting a faint star 800 light years from Earth. […]

  • New NASA study improves search for habitable worlds
    on October 19, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    New NASA research is helping to refine our understanding of candidate planets beyond our solar system that might support life. […]

  • Astronomers find potential solution into how planets form
    on October 13, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    The quest to discover how planets found in the far reaches of the universe are born has taken a new, crucial twist. […]

  • Star Dust Helps Explain Mysterious Dimming Star
    on October 13, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Astronomers are working to understand the mysterious dimming of Tabby's Star. The astronomers report that space dust orbiting the star -- not alien megastructures -- is the likely cause of the star's long-term dimming. […]

  • Devourer of planets? Astronomers dub star 'Kronos'
    on October 12, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    'Kronos' is enhanced in metals and other rock-forming elements but not in volatiles, prompting a team of researchers to conclude that it absorbed as much as 15 Earth masses worth of rocky planets. Its twin, 'Krios,' does not show this unusual pattern of enhancement. […]

  • Giant exoplanet hunters: Look for debris disks
    on October 11, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    There's no map showing all the billions of exoplanets hiding in our galaxy -- they're so distant and faint compared to their stars, it's hard to find them. Now, astronomers hunting for new worlds have established a possible signpost for giant exoplanets. […]

  • The super-Earth that came home for dinner
    on October 4, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    It might be lingering bashfully on the icy outer edges of our solar system, hiding in the dark, but subtly pulling strings behind the scenes: stretching out the orbits of distant bodies, perhaps even tilting the entire solar system to one side. It is a possible "Planet Nine" -- a world perhaps 10 times the mass of Earth and 20 times farther from the sun than Neptune. […]

  • ALMA and Rosetta detect Freon-40 in space dashing hopes that molecule may be marker of life
    on October 2, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Observations made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and ESA's Rosetta mission, have revealed the presence of the organohalogen Freon-40 in gas around both an infant star and a comet. Organohalogens are formed by organic processes on Earth, but this is the first ever detection of them in interstellar space. This discovery suggests that organohalogens may not be as good markers of life as had been hoped, but that they may be significant components of the material from which planets form. […]

  • Size matters in the detection of exoplanet atmospheres
    on September 19, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    A group-analysis of 30 exoplanets orbiting distant stars suggests that size, not mass, is a key factor in whether a planet’s atmosphere can be detected. The largest population-study of exoplanets to date successfully detected atmospheres around 16 ‘hot Jupiters’, and found that water vapor was present in every case. […]

  • Light on exoplanets may be quite different from Earth: Different photosynthesis?
    on September 15, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Researchers have proposed a prediction that red-edge could be observed as on the Earth even on exoplanets around M-dwarfs. They pointed out that the first oxgenic photorophs are most likely to have evolved underwater to utilize visible light just like what had happened in the primordial ocean on the Earth. They examined light adaptation mechanisms of visible- and IR-radiation-using phototrophs required for adapting to land habitats and found out that IR-using phototrophs struggle to adapt to changing light condition at the boundary of water and land surface. […]

  • The return of the comet-like exoplanet
    on September 14, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Astronomers have focused the Hubble Space Telescope on an exoplanet that had already been seen losing its atmosphere, which forms an enormous cloud of hydrogen, giving the planet the appearance of a giant comet. During earlier observations, it was not possible to cover the whole cloud, whose shape was predicted by numerical simulations. Thanks to these new observations, the scientists have finally been able to confirm the initial predictions. […]

  • Hubble observes pitch black planet
    on September 14, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Astronomers have discovered that the well-studied exoplanet WASP-12b reflects almost no light, making it appear essentially pitch black. This discovery sheds new light on the atmospheric composition of the planet and also refutes previous hypotheses about WASP-12b's atmosphere. The results are also in stark contrast to observations of another similarly sized exoplanet. […]

  • Are we being watched? Tens of other worlds could spot the Earth
    on September 9, 2017 at 12:55 am

    Scientists have turned exoplanet-hunting on its head, in a study that instead looks at how an alien observer might be able to detect Earth using our own methods. They find that at least nine exoplanets are ideally placed to observe transits of Earth. […]

  • Climate change for aliens
    on September 7, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    For more than 50 years, the Kardashev scale has been the gold standard for classifying hypothetical 'exo-civilizations' by their ability to harness energy. A team of researchers has devised a new system that takes into account the impacts of that energy use. […]

  • Earth as hybrid planet: New classification places Anthropocene era in astrobiological context
    on September 6, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    A new classification scheme has been devised for the evolutionary stages of worlds based on 'non-equilibrium thermodynamics' -- a planet's energy flow being out of sync, as the presence of life could cause. […]

  • First hints of possible water content on TRAPPIST-1 planets
    on August 31, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Astronomers have been trying to determine whether there might be water on the seven Earth-sized planets orbiting the nearby dwarf star TRAPPIST-1. The results suggest that the outer planets of the system might still harbor substantial amounts of water. This includes the three planets within the habitable zone of the star, lending further weight to the possibility that they may indeed be habitable. […]

  • Scientists create 'diamond rain' that forms in the interior of icy giant planets
    on August 21, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    In an experiment designed to mimic the conditions deep inside the icy giant planets of our solar system, scientists were able to observe 'diamond rain' for the first time as it formed in high-pressure conditions. Extremely high pressure squeezes hydrogen and carbon found in the interior of these planets to form solid diamonds that sink slowly down further into the interior. […]

  • Astrophysicists predict Earth-like planet in star system only 16 light years away
    on August 17, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Astrophysicists have predicted that an Earth-like planet may be lurking in a star system just 16 light years away. The team investigated the star system Gliese 832 for additional exoplanets residing between the two currently known alien worlds in this system. Their computations revealed that an additional Earth-like planet with a dynamically stable configuration may be residing at a distance ranging from 0.25 to 2.0 astronomical unit (AU) from the star. […]

  • Four Earth-sized planets detected orbiting the nearest sun-like star
    on August 17, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Astronomers have discovered four Earth-sized planets orbiting the nearest sun-like star, tau Ceti, which is about 12 light years away and visible to the naked eye. These planets have masses as low as 1.7 Earth mass, making them among the smallest planets ever detected around nearby sun-like stars. Two of them are super-Earths located in the habitable zone of the star, meaning they could support liquid surface water. […]

  • Tidally locked exoplanets may be more common than previously thought
    on August 14, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Many exoplanets to be found by coming high-powered telescopes will probably be tidally locked -- with one side permanently facing their host star -- according to new research. […]

  • Scientists probe Neptune's depths to reveal secrets of icy planets
    on August 11, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Scientists have helped solve the mystery of what lies beneath the surface of Neptune -- the most distant planet in our solar system. […]