The first ever exoplanets were discovered 30 years ago around a rapidly rotating star, called a pulsar. Now, astronomers have revealed that these planets may be incredibly rare.
Strange ‘eggshell planets’ are among the rich variety of exoplanets possible, according to a study from Washington University in St. Louis. These rocky worlds have an ultra-thin outer brittle layer and little to no topography. Such worlds are unlikely to have plate tectonics, raising questions as to their habitability.
Researchers measured the potassium isotope compositions of Martian meteorites in order to estimate the presence, distribution and abundance of volatile elements and compounds, including water, on Mars, finding that Mars has lost more potassium than Earth but retained more potassium than the Moon or the asteroid 4-Vesta; the results suggest that rocky planets with larger mass retain more volatile elements during planetary formation and that Mars and Mars-sized exoplanets fall below a size threshold necessary to retain enough water to enable habitability and plate tectonics.
Astronomers have long suspected that superflares, extreme radiation bursts from stars, can cause lasting damage to the atmospheres — and thus habitability — of exoplanets. A new study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society reports that they pose only a limited danger to planetary systems.
New high-resolution observations clearly show a moon-forming region around exoplanet PDS 70c. The observations have allowed astronomers to determine the ring-shaped region’s size and mass for the first time.
Researchers using Hubble directly measured the mass growth rate of PDS 70b for the first time by using the observatory’s unique ultraviolet sensitivities to capture radiation from extremely hot gas falling onto the planet.
In the continuing search for dark matter in our universe, scientists believe they have found a unique and powerful detector: exoplanets.
MAROON-X instrument built by UChicago team measures its first planet, Gliese 486 b, which is located just over two dozen light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Virgo, and is also made out of rock—though it is hotter and three times larger than our home.
Are we alone in the universe? Research by Dr. Gary Zank at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of the University of Alabama System, and collaborators from UAH and other institutions has helped to inform the search for planets that could harbor life.
Astronomers analyzing Hubble images of the double star, HD 106906, have discovered a planet in a huge 15,000-year-long orbit that sweeps it as far from its stellar duo as Planet Nine would be from our Sun. This is observational evidence that similarly far-flung worlds may exist around other stars. Researchers hypothesize that the planet wound up there in a game of planetary pinball where the gravitational pull of a passing star modified the orbit’s shape.
Data from the Kepler space telescope, launched more than a decade ago, is still helping astronomers who study planets outside of our own solar system — exoplanets — and unravel the mysteries of planetary systems. Initially, astronomers were surprised that Kepler found so many exoplanets, including hundreds of planetary systems with multiple planets orbiting close to their host star. As astronomers developed models to explain the abundance of inner exoplanets, they encountered a new mystery: “Why did Kepler detect just one planet around so many stars, instead of planetary systems with multiple planets?”
Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), two teams of astronomers have for the first time discovered a planet-forming disk with misaligned rings around a triple star system, called GW Orionis. The astronomers give two possible scenarios for the misalignment: either…
Precision measurements made with the VLBA have revealed that a small, cool star 35 light-years from Earth is orbited by a Saturn-sized planet once every 221 days.
They say variety is the spice of life, and now new discoveries from Johns Hopkins researchers suggest that a certain elemental ‘variety’—sulfur—is indeed a ‘spice’ that can perhaps point to signs of life.
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have found striking orbital geometries in protoplanetary disks around binary stars. While disks orbiting the most compact binary star systems share very nearly the same plane, disks encircling wide binaries have orbital planes that are severely tilted. These systems can teach us about planet formation in complex environments.
There’s new hope that we aren’t alone in the universe, that advanced beings may exist on exoplanets. But they’re probably not close by, says a new study on the stability of planetary tilts – and orbits – needed to encourage the evolution of complex life.
MOSCOW (MIPT) — The discovery by Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz was momentous in that they made it very clear how exoplanets may be sought using what is known as the radial velocity method, says Alexander Rodin from the Moscow Institute…
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 8, 2019 — The 2019 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded today to James Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz “for contributions to the evolution of the universe and Earth’s place in the cosmos.” “AIP is delighted…