Extrasolar Planets

Wow! Water Ice Clouds Suspected In Brown Dwarf Beyond The Solar System

by Elizabeth Howell September 12, 2014

What are planetary atmospheres made of? Figuring out the answer to that question is a big step on the road to learning about habitability, assuming that life tends to flourish in atmospheres like our own. While there is a debate about how indicative the presence of, say, oxygen or water is of life on Earth-like […]

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‘Venus Zone': The Anti-Habitable Area Around A Star That Can Breed Hell

by Elizabeth Howell September 11, 2014

Our hothouse planet of the solar system, Venus, is possibly a product of how close it is to the Sun, new research reveals. The team who have come up with a definition of a “Venus zone” around stars, saying that knowing where this area is could help pin down other areas that are more habitable […]

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Gliese 15Ab: The Closest Known Super-Earth?

by Shannon Hall September 9, 2014

Our solar neighborhood is rich with planetary systems. Within 20 light-years we’ve detected sizzling gas giants and rocky planets orbiting closer to their host star than Mercury orbits the Sun. Astronomers have now added one more to the list, and this one — a super-Earth dubbed Gliese 15Ab — ranks as one of the closest […]

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This Robotic Laser System On A Telescope Is Looking At Alien Planets

by Elizabeth Howell August 5, 2014

There’s a group of people probing exoplanets with a laser robot, and the results are showing a few surprises. Specifically, a survey of “hot Jupiters” — the huge gas giants in tight orbits around their parent stars — shows that they are more than three times likely to be found in double star systems than […]

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Companion Planet Could Keep Alien Earths Warm In Old Age: Study

by Elizabeth Howell August 1, 2014

People are generally social creatures, and in the case of planets that generally is the case as well. Many of these alien worlds we have discovered are in groups of two or more around their parent star or stars. A new study, however, goes a step further and says that a companion planet could actually […]

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