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All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘exoplanets’

No “Planet X” Found in WISE Data

For decades before Pluto, Eris, and other distant objects in our solar system were discovered, astronomers had posited that there must be another planet beyond Neptune that would make observed orbital calculations for Neptune and Uranus add up. This planet was dubbed “Planet X” and was searched for extensively during the late 19th century. The search was largely abandoned when …

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715 New Exoplanets Discovered by NASA’s Kepler

The last decade has seen a huge increase in the number of known exoplanets (those outside of our own solar system). NASA’s Kepler mission has been responsible for a great deal of these planet discoveries in the last few years and today NASA revealed yet another wave of new planets discovered by the Kepler space observatory. According to a paper …

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“Wobbly” Planet Spotted in Binary Star System

NASA this week revealed that the Kepler Space Telescope has spotted a planet with a very erratic orbit. The planet, named Kepler-413b, orbits around a pair of stars and performs what astronomers are describing as a wobble as its spins. The planet’s binary system is located 2,300 light-years from our system and contains two dwarf stars, one orange and one …

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New Planets Found Among Star Cluster

Astronomers this week have announced the discovery of three planets found within the Messier 67 star cluster. The finding is significant because planets have rarely found orbiting stars that are part of star clusters. The new research shows that planets may actually be just as common within star clusters as they are throughout the rest of the galaxy. “These new …

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Massive Planet-Like Object Baffles Astronomers

Astronomers this week announced the discovery of an odd object orbiting a star located around 440 light years from our solar system. The object’s size and position is now giving scientists trouble in determining what exactly it is. The object, dubbed ROXs 42Bb, is around nine times the mass of Jupiter, just shy of the mark where astronomers would classify …

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Hubble Spots Cloudy Atmospheres on Two Nearby Exoplanets

On the eve of a new year, astronomers have just revealed that two nearby exoplanets are covered in an atmosphere thick with clouds. Two new papers, both to be published in the journal Nature, examine the planets GJ 436b and GJ 1214b. GJ 436b is located just 36 light-years from our solar system and is thought to be a “warm …

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Hot, Earth-Sized Exoplanet Found by Astronomers

Astronomers this week revealed that the mass of exoplanet Kepler 78b has been determined. The planet, located 400 light-year away in orbit around the star Kepler 78, has a mass of around 1.7 times that of Earth. The planet also has a radius just 1.2 times that of Earth and its density is also similar to Earth’s. The new research …

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Clouds Mapped on Jupiter-Like Exoplanet

Though much of the agency is preparing to shut down, NASA this week announced that astronomers have mapped the clouds of a planet outside our own solar system. Using the Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes, astronomers have created a cloud map of Kepler-7b, a Jupiter-like planet that orbits around the star Kepler-7. Though Kepler-7b has less than half the mass …

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Kepler Space Telescope Broken, NASA Gives Up on Restoration

Sometimes the best physicists, engineers, and mathematicians in the world can’t save a failing satellite. NASA announced today that it has given up attempts to restore the malfunctioning Kepler Space Telescope. One of the Kepler’s four reaction wheels failed back in July 2012, and a second went out this past May. Since that time NASA researchers have been attempting to …

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Smallest Planet Yet Spotted Around Sun-Like Star

Astronomers this week announced they have directly imaged the smallest planet yet found around a sun-like star. The planet, GJ 504b, is about four times the mass of Jupiter. It orbits its star at around 43 times the distance from Earth to the sun and has a dark pink color. The star GJ 504 is a main sequence (G0 stellar …

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Hubble Telescope Spots a Blue Planet

Astronomers have been finding and cataloging exoplanets for years now, but NASA this week announced that the Hubble Space Telescope has helped determined the color of a planet orbiting a star 63 light-years from our solar system. The planet, HD 189733b, has been found to be blue in color. Astronomers determined this using Hubble’s imaging spectrograph, which was able to …

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Three Planets Found in the Habitable Zone of Nearby Star

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) this week announced it has found six planets in the Gliese 667C system, and that three of those planets are located within the system’s habitable zone. The habitable zone of a system is the area around a star where liquid water can exist. With the presence of water also comes the possibility for life as …

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