Researchers at the Max Planck Institute have discovered 18 planets orbiting other stars. These exoplanets were found in data collected by the now-defunct Kepler space telescope. By analyzing data with a new algorithm, astronomers can now detect the gradual dimming of light seen as small planets pass between their suns and the Earth, Researchers hope this new tool will help find as many as 100 new worlds to add to the 4,000 planets already known beyond our solar system.Read More Another 18 Earth-sized Planets Discovered — One is EPIC!
Astronomers found a young solar system, looking much like our own did, billions of years in the past. Located 470 light years from Earth, the star DM Tau is surrounded by a disk of dust and gas, which show two rings where planets are forming, located at roughly the same distances as the asteroid belt and Neptune in our own solar system. The star, believed to be between three and five million years old, is seen in the constellation of Taurus the Bull.Read More Solar System Much Like Ours Found Forming Around Alien Star
Binary stars may be more likely to harbor life than once believed. Astronomers thought, until now, that life was unlikely to form in systems containing two or more stars. However, a new computer model developed by an undergraduate student of astronomy shows that as binary stars form in stellar nurseries, they are often passed by a third sun. Gravity from this passer-by can draw the two binary stars closer together, increasing the amount of area warm enough for liquid water to pool on planets. Water is necessary for life on Earth to exist, and planets with water are thought to be more likely to harbor life.Read More Binary Stars May be Likely to Harbor Life, After All
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?
Astronomers at the SETI Institute are estimating that the human race will likely make contact with an alien species sometime in the next 25 years. Science writer James Maynard released a new look on thecosmiccompanion.com seeing what aliens may look like, based on the laws of science and evolution. Such aliens, he finds, are likely to have legs and some form of two or more eyes, and have a kind communication. Other than those features, extraterrestrials may have little in common with life on Earth.Read More Preparing for E.T. – What do Aliens Look Like?
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