The SPHEREx space telescope will launch in 2023, NASA reports. This orbiting observatory will map 100,000 stars in our galaxy and 300,000 other galaxies over the entire sky. The telescope will record in infrared light, similar to some forms of night vision technology, The robotic mission will examine stellar birthplaces, searching for water. It will also turn its eyes to watch planets form around alien stars.Read More Meet SPHEREx – NASA’s Newest Mission to Explore the Early Universe, Launching in 2023
The Kepler spacecraft has sent its final images to Earth, ending a decade of hunting for planets beyond our solar system. The spacecraft was utilized in the discovery of more than 2,600 of these exoplanets. Just 35 years ago, astronomers did not know of any planets beyond our own stellar family, while today, we know of thousands of such alien worlds, Most of these discoveries were made using the Kepler spacecraft, launched in 2009. The observatory ran out of fuel in October 2018, and was placed in a safe orbit prior to shutdown.Read More Good Night, Dear Kepler — Planet-Hunting Telescope Sends Last Images to Earth; Is That Tetris?
A newly discovered super-Earth, Barnard b, may be capable of supporting alien life, researchers at Villanova University report. This world is roughly three times larger than the Earth, and experiences frigid temperatures. However, if it is a rocky world with a molten core, like Earth and Venus, this could provide enough heat to create oceans of liquid water that could support life. Astronomers are still uncertain if Bernard b has a solid surface, or if it is a gaseous world, similar to Uranus and Neptune. The next generation of telescopes may be able to make that determination, and possibly detect life if it exists on that alien world.Read More Could Alien Life Exist on Barnard b? It’s Possible!
A strange exoplanet sitting 53 light years from Earth has been discovered by astronomers using the TESS spacecraft. This world is three times larger than the Earth, but 23 times as dense. This suggests it is likely surrounded by a thick atmosphere, denser than that seen on Uranus or Neptune. The planet, HD 2172b, speeds around its parent star once every 36 days. This is the third confirmed planet found by TESS, although astronomers are looking through data showing more than 280 other potential worlds.Read More Weird Exoplanet Discovered by TESS Spacecraft – Strange World, Indeed!
A new exoplanet orbiting Bernard’s Star, just six light years from Earth, has been detected by astronomers. This frozen world orbits the cool red dwarf star at about the same distance as that which separates the Sun and Mercury. Life is unlikely to be found on the frigid surface, but the techniques used to discovery this world could allow astronomers to find a treasure trove of other worlds orbiting alien stars.Read More Howdy Neighbor! Frozen Super-Earth Discovered Orbiting Bernard’s Star
Astronomers from the University of Florida announced they have found a new exoplanet much like the planet Vulcan from Star Trek. Strangely enough, the actual planet was found almost exactly where the science-fiction series placed it decades ago. The planet orbits the star 40 Eridani A, just over 16 light years from Earth. The discovery was made using a 50-inch telescope on Mount Lemmon, near Tucson, Arizona.Read More Astronomers Find Mr. Spock’s Home World of Vulcan from Star Trek
A giant planet, more than 12 times as massive as Jupiter, has been discovered floating freely through space 20 light years from Earth. This gas giant exhibits a powerful magnet field, 3.8 million times stronger than the one surrounding Earth. The planet was found utilizing the Very Large Array of radio telescopes in New Mexico. This marks the first time ever that a planet has been discovered using a radio telescope.Read More Glowing Rogue – Massive Young Planet Found Floating Alone Through Space
A planet sitting 500 light years from Earth, Kepler 186-f, is now considered to be the most Earth-like of all worlds away from our solar system. A new study from Georgia Tech reveals the planet has a stable tilt, providing regular seasons, much like those on Earth. Currently, astronomers know of over 3,700 planets orbiting stars other than our own.Read More Explore Kepler 186-f – The Most Earth-like Exoplanet Out There
The search for planets beyond our solar system is going to be expanded by the launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, the latest space-based observatory from NASA.Read More TESS Mission from NASA Set to Seek Out New Worlds
One of the nearest extra-solar planets to Earth, Proxima B, has recently fallen out of favor as a potential home to alien life. Maybe it’s not time to count it out just yet.Read More Extraterrestrial Life May Feel at Home on Proxima B After All