An automated telescope has found a super-Earth orbiting the star 40 Eridani A, famous to Star Trek fans as Science Officer Spock’s home star. It is twice the size of Earth and completes an orbit every 42 days.
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite’s four cameras have captured a razor-sharp “first light” image of the southern sky, demonstrating the photographic prowess needed to hunt down planets around nearby stars.
An influential panel of senior U.S. scientists and administrators recommends that NASA build a large exoplanet imaging telescope to answer fundamental questions how common Earth-like planets – and life – might be across the galaxy.
A new database lists the chemical compositions of more than 6,000 nearby stars and the abundances of elements from hydrogen to lead, giving astronomers a guide to stars that may host potentially habitable planets.
Using data from ESA’s Gaia and Hipparcos satellites, astronomers have managed to deduce the mass of a giant exoplanet orbiting Beta Pictoris by studying subtle changes in the star’s motion over a quarter of a century.
Analysis of more than two dozen relatively nearby solar systems shows the elements that went into their construction are broadly similar to what is found in Earth’s solar family, increasing confidence that Earth-like exoplanets may be common.
Computer simulations and spectroscopic analysis show molecular bonds in the atmosphere of a Jupiter-class exoplanet orbiting so close to its star that temperatures reach some 4,000 degrees Celsius (7,200 F) are ripped asunder.
An analysis of the crowded core of one of the most star-packed globular clusters in the Milky Way – Omega Centauri – indicates frequent gravitational interactions would prevent stable solar systems from forming and along with them, life.
NASA’s newest observatory in space has started its search for planets around other stars as astronomers zero in on worlds that are ripe for research by follow-up missions like the James Webb Space Telescope.
The Kepler spacecraft, nearly out of fuel, has suspended its search for exoplanets pending the downlink of stored data. Flight controllers hope to resume observations in August for as long as the dwindling propellant holds out.