Planets Plentiful Around Abundant Red Dwarf Stars, Study Says

by Elizabeth Howell March 4, 2014

Good news for planet-hunters: planets around red dwarf stars are more abundant than previously believed, according to new research. A new study — which detected eight new planets around these stars — says that “virtually” all red dwarfs have planets around them. Moreover, super-Earths (planets that are slightly larger than our own) are orbiting in […]

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New Technique Finds Water in Exoplanet Atmospheres

by Jason Major February 25, 2014

As more and more exoplanets are identified and confirmed by various observational methods, the still-elusive “holy grail” is the discovery of a truly Earthlike world… one of the hallmarks of which is the presence of liquid water. And while it’s true that water has been identified in the thick atmospheres of “hot Jupiter” exoplanets before, […]

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High Potential for Life Circling Alpha Centauri B, our Nearest Neighbor

by Shannon Hall February 5, 2014

While exoplanets make the news on an almost daily basis, one of the biggest announcements occurred in 2012 when astronomers claimed the discovery of an Earth-like planet circling our nearest neighbor, Alpha Centauri B, a mere 4.3 light-years away. That’s almost close enough to touch. Of course such a discovery has led to a heated […]

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Kepler Finds an Earth-Sized “Gas Giant”

by Jason Major January 6, 2014

Gas planets aren’t always bloated, monstrous worlds the size of Jupiter or Saturn (or larger) they can also apparently be just barely bigger than Earth. This was the discovery announced earlier today during the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, DC, when findings regarding the gassy (but surprisingly small) exoplanet KOI-314c were presented. “This planet might have […]

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Prebiotic Molecules May Form in Exoplanet Atmospheres

by Shannon Hall December 24, 2013

Before there was life as we know it, there were molecules. And after many seemingly unlikely steps these molecules underwent a magnificent transition: they became complex systems with the capability to reproduce, pass along information and drive chemical reactions. But the host of steps leading up to this transition has remained one of science’s beloved […]

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