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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.
TRAPPIST-1 planets provide clues to the nature of habitable worlds
To determine the composition of the TRAPPIST-1 planets, the team used a unique software package that uses state-of-the-art mineral physics calculators. The software, called ExoPlex, allowed the team to combine all of the available information about the TRAPPIST-1 system, including the chemical makeup of the star, rather than being limited to just the mass and radius of individual planets.
Interstellar asteroid, 'Oumuamua, likely came from a binary star system
New research finds that 'Oumuamua, the rocky object identified as the first confirmed interstellar asteroid, very likely came from a binary star system.
15 new planets confirmed around cool dwarf stars
Scientists report the existence of 15 new planets -- including one 'super-Earth' that could harbor liquid water -- orbiting small, cool stars near our solar system. These stars, known as red dwarfs, are of enormous interest for studies of planetary formation and evolution.
First laboratory simulation of exoplanet atmospheric chemistry
Scientists have conducted the first lab experiments on haze formation in simulated exoplanet atmospheres, an important step for understanding upcoming observations of planets outside the solar system with the James Webb Space Telescope.
Hubble finds huge system of dusty material enveloping the young star HR 4796A
Astronomers have used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to uncover a vast, complex dust structure, about 150 billion miles across, enveloping the young star HR 4796A.
Hubble observes exoplanet atmosphere in more detail than ever before
An international team of scientists has used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to study the atmosphere of the hot exoplanet WASP-39b. By combining this new data with older data they created the most complete study yet of an exoplanet atmosphere. The atmospheric composition of WASP-39b hints that the formation processes of exoplanets can be very different from those of our own Solar System giants.
Scientists discover almost 100 new exoplanets
Based on data from NASA's K2 mission an international team of scientists have just confirmed nearly 100 new exoplanets, planets located outside our solar system. This brings the total number of new exoplanets found with the K2 mission up to almost 300.
Rocky or gassy? Massive, dense super-Earth planet detected
A star about 100 light years away in the Pisces constellation, GJ 9827, hosts what may be one of the most massive and dense super-Earth planets detected to date, according to new research. This new information provides evidence to help astronomers better understand the process by which such planets form.
TRAPPIST-1 planets probably rich in water
A new study has found that planets orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1 are made mostly of rock, and some could hold more water than Earth. The planets' densities suggest that some of them could have up to 5 percent of their mass in the form of water. The hotter planets closest to their parent star are likely to have dense steamy atmospheres and the more distant ones probably have icy surfaces.
Atmospheres of exoplanets in TRAPPIST-1 habitable zone probed
Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have conducted the first spectroscopic survey of the Earth-sized planets within the habitable zone around the nearby star TRAPPIST-1. Hubble reveals that at least three of the exoplanets (d, e, and f) do not seem to contain puffy, hydrogen-rich atmospheres similar to gaseous planets such as Neptune. The results, instead, favor more compact atmospheres like those of Earth, Venus, and Mars.
A new 'atmospheric disequilibrium' could help detect life on other planets
A new study has found a simple approach to look for life that might be more promising than just looking for oxygen.
New limit on the definition of a planet proposed
A planet can be no bigger than about 10 times the size of Jupiter, an astrophysicist has calculated.
A 'hot Jupiter' with unusual winds
The hottest point on a gaseous planet near a distant star isn't where astrophysicists expected it to be -- a discovery that challenges scientists' understanding of the many planets of this type found in solar systems outside our own.
No planets needed for rings around stars: Disk patterns can self-generate
A new study shows rings, arcs and spirals in disks around stars may not be caused by planets. They may self-generate.
Brown dwarfs found sprinkled among newborn stars in Orion Nebula
Astronomers have uncovered the largest known population of brown dwarfs sprinkled among newborn stars in the Orion Nebula.
Citizen scientists discover five-planet system
In its search for exoplanets -- planets outside of our solar system -- NASA's Kepler telescope trails behind Earth, measuring the brightness of stars that may potentially host planets. The instrument identifies potential planets around other stars by looking for dips in the brightness of the stars that occur when planets cross in front of, or transit, them. Typically, computer programs flag the stars with these brightness dips, then astronomers look at each one and decide whether or not they truly could host a planet candidate.
Planets around other stars are like peas in a pod
A study of 909 planets and 355 stars reveals that, unlike our solar system, other planetary systems are distinguished by strict regularity.
NASA's Webb Telescope to investigate mysterious brown dwarfs
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are. Astronomers are hopeful that the powerful infrared capability of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will resolve a puzzle as fundamental as stargazing itself -- what IS that dim light in the sky? Brown dwarfs muddy a clear distinction between stars and planets, throwing established understanding of those bodies, and theories of their formation, into question.
Tabby's Star: Alien megastructure not the cause of dimming of the 'most mysterious star in the universe'
Scientists are one step closer to solving the mystery behind the 'most mysterious star in the universe.'
Star in the constellation Pisces is 'eating' planets
Astronomers have discovered that a distant star called RZ Picseum in the constellation Pisces is crushing one or more planets into its orbit into a vast cloud of gas and dust.
Orbital mayhem around a red dwarf
In the collective imagination, planets of a solar system all circle around their star, in the equatorial plane of the star. The star also spins, and its spin axis is aligned with the spin axes of the planetary orbits, giving the impression of a well-ordered system. But nature is capricious, as astronomers just found out: they detected a planetary system turned upside down.
New approach for detecting planets in the Alpha Centauri system
Astronomers have taken a fresh look at the nearby Alpha Centauri star system and found new ways to narrow the search for habitable planets there. According to a study, there may be small, Earth-like planets in Alpha Centauri that have been overlooked. Meanwhile, the study ruled out the existence of a number of larger planets in the system.
Better way to weigh millions of solitary stars
Astronomers have come up with a new and improved method for measuring the masses of millions of solitary stars, especially those with planetary systems.
Artificial intelligence, NASA data used to discover eighth planet circling distant star
Our solar system now is tied for most number of planets around a single star, with the recent discovery of an eighth planet circling Kepler-90, a Sun-like star 2,545 light years from Earth. The planet was discovered in data from NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.
Spanning disciplines in the search for life beyond Earth
Following a gold rush of exoplanet discovery, the next step in the search for life is determining which of the known exoplanets are proper candidates for life -- and for this, a cross-disciplinary approach is essential.
Mars mission sheds light on habitability of distant planets
Insights from NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, mission about the loss of the Red Planet's atmosphere can help scientists understand the habitability of rocky planets orbiting other stars.
Two Super-Earths around red dwarf K2-18
New research has revealed that a little-known exoplanet called K2-18b could well be a scaled-up version of Earth. Just as exciting, the same researchers also discovered for the first time that the planet has a neighbor.
WASP-18b has smothering stratosphere without water
Scientists have found evidence that the oversized planet WASP-18b is wrapped in a smothering stratosphere loaded with carbon monoxide and devoid of water.
New spin to solving mystery of stellar companions
Scientists are investigating the nature of planetary-mass bodies that orbit stars, finding new clues to their origins.
Blowing in the stellar wind: Scientists reduce the chances of life on exoplanets in so-called habitable zones
A new article describes the detrimental impact of stellar wind on the atmosphere of exoplanets.
Space dust may transport life between worlds, research suggests
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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'
'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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Scientists have helped solve the mystery of what lies beneath the surface of Neptune -- the most distant planet in our solar system.