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.

  • 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. […]

  • Exoplanet shines with glowing water atmosphere
    on August 2, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Scientists have found compelling evidence for a stratosphere on an enormous planet outside our solar system. The planet's stratosphere -- a layer of atmosphere where temperature increases with higher altitudes -- is hot enough to boil iron. […]

  • Earth-like atmosphere may not survive Proxima b's orbit
    on July 31, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    An Earth-like planet outside the solar system may not be able to keep a grip on its atmosphere, leaving the surface exposed to harmful stellar radiation and reducing its potential for habitability. […]

  • New hot Jupiter marks the first collaborative exoplanet discovery
    on July 18, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Researchers have discovered a new 'Hot Jupiter' exoplanet. […]

  • Smallest-ever star discovered by astronomers
    on July 12, 2017 at 2:00 am

    The smallest star yet measured has been discovered by a team of astronomers. With a size just a sliver larger than that of Saturn, the gravitational pull at its stellar surface is about 300 times stronger than what humans feel on Earth. […]

  • Tracking the birth of a 'super-Earth'
    on July 11, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    'Synthetic observations' simulating nascent planetary systems could help explain a puzzle -- how planets form -- that has vexed astronomers for a long time. […]

  • Cosmic barbecue: Researchers spot 60 new 'hot Jupiter' candidates
    on July 6, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Sixty potential new 'hot Jupiters' -- highly irradiated worlds that glow like coals on a barbecue grill and are found orbiting only 1% of Sun-like stars -- have been discovered by researchers. […]

  • First discovery of an exoplanet with SPHERE/VLT
    on July 6, 2017 at 11:25 am

    An exoplanet has been discovered by an international team of astronomers by direct imaging using SPHERE, an instrument designed and developed by a consortium of 12 European institutes on the Very Large Telescope ESO, based in Chile. The instrument, which corrects in real time the terrestrial atmospheric turbulences and occults the light of the star, allows to take a real «photography» of the exoplanet. […]

  • Re-making planets after star-death
    on July 6, 2017 at 1:19 am

    Astronomers may have found an answer to the 25-year-old mystery of how planets form in the aftermath of a supernova explosion. […]

  • Under pressure: Extreme atmosphere stripping may limit exoplanets' habitability
    on July 3, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    New models of massive stellar eruptions hint at an extra layer of complexity when considering whether an exoplanet may be habitable or not. Models developed for our own Sun have now been applied to cool stars favored by exoplanet hunters. […]

  • Topsy-turvy motion creates light switch effect at Uranus
    on June 26, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Uranus' magnetosphere, the region defined by the planet's magnetic field and the material trapped inside it, gets flipped on and off like a light switch every day as it rotates along with the planet, scientists have discovered. It's 'open' in one orientation, allowing solar wind to flow into the magnetosphere; it later closes, forming a shield against the solar wind and deflecting it away from the planet. […]

  • The curious case of the warped Kuiper Belt
    on June 22, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    The plane of the solar system is warped in the belt's outer reaches, signaling the presence of an unknown Mars-to-Earth-mass planetary object far beyond Pluto, according to new research.&nbs […]

  • Ten near-Earth size planets in habitable zone of their star
    on June 20, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    NASA's Kepler space telescope team has released a mission catalog of planet candidates that introduces 219 new planet candidates, 10 of which are near-Earth size and orbiting in their star's habitable zone, which is the range of distance from a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of a rocky planet. […]

  • New branch in family tree of exoplanets discovered
    on June 19, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Researchers have classified exoplanets in much the same way that biologists identify new animal species. […]

  • Search for Earth-like planets: Try a statistical approach
    on June 14, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    A team of astronomers seeks to change the way scientists approach the search for Earth-like planets orbiting stars other than the sun. They favor taking a statistical comparative approach in seeking habitable planets and life beyond the solar system. […]

  • Jupiter is one old-timer, scientist finds
    on June 12, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Jupiter is the oldest planet in our solar system, an international group of scientists has found. […]

  • Composition of Earth-size planets in TRAPPIST-1 system
    on June 8, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    An astrophysics researcher has identified the possible compositions of the seven planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. Using thousands of numerical simulations to identify the planets stable for millions of years, Quarles concluded that six of the seven planets are consistent with an Earth-like composition. The exception is TRAPPIST-1f, which has a mass of 25 percent water, suggesting that TRAPPIST-1e may be the best candidate for future habitability studies. […]

  • Mini-flares potentially jeopardize habitability of planets circling red dwarf stars
    on June 6, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Solar flares and associated eruptions can trigger auroras on Earth or, more ominously, damage satellites and power grids. Could flares on cool, red dwarf stars cause even more havoc to orbiting planets, even rendering them uninhabitable? To help answer that question, astronomers sought to find out how many flares such stars typically unleash. […]