All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘exoplanets’

Giant Planet Formation May Have Been Spotted

Astronomers have found what could be the first-ever sighting of a planet forming while still in the midst of a dust cloud surrounding a star. The object, which orbits the star HD 100546, is only 335 light-years from Earth and appears to be a gas giant. If the findings, published this week in Astrophysical Journal Letters, are confirmed, they could …

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NASA’s Kepler Finds Extra-Solar Planets Smaller Than Earth

Over the past year, NASA’s Kepler mission has found hundreds of possible planets outside of our solar system, and even a few candidates for Earth-like planets. This week, astronomers revealed that a new system has been found that contains planets smaller than Earth. The new data has been presented in a paper published recently in the journal Nature. The planets …

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Earth-Sized Planets May be Close by, Shows Study

Astronomers this week published a new study that estimates six percent of red dwarf stars may have Earth-sized planets orbiting within their “habitable zone” – the area around a star in which liquid water can exist on the surface of an orbiting body. Since many stars close to our solar system are red dwarfs, astronomers say an Earth-like planet could …

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Rogue Planet Orbit Spotted by NASA’s Hubble

New images of the Fomalhaut star system could show evidence of a “titanic planetary disruption.” Astronomers have found that the debris belt in the system is wider than was thought, and that a “rogue” planet has a precarious orbit that takes it straight through the dust ring. The debris belt spans a huge section of space from 14 to around …

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461 New Planet Candidates Discovered by NASA’s Kepler, Including Four Earth-Like Ones

Astronomers last week announced that they estimate there to be 100 billion planets throughout the Milky Way Galaxy. This week, Astronomers announced 461 new candidates for extra-solar planets have been discovered. NASA‘s Kepler mission has been discovering exoplanets for years now, and the number of confirmed exoplanets is currently 105. As astronomers dig more deeply into Kepler data, smaller planet …

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100 Billion Planets Populate the Milky Way Galaxy, Say Astronomers

For years now, NASA‘s Kepler mission has been confirming the existence of planets outside our solar system. Now, a new review of Kepler data suggests that there are billions upon billions of planets just in the Milky Way galaxy. “There are at least 100 billion planets in the galaxy, just our galaxy,” said John Johnson, assistant professor of planetary astronomy …

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Giant Planet Formation Revealed in New Observations

Astronomers have spotted a system that could reveal a key stage in the formation of giant planets. For the first time, images of vast gas streams flowing across a gap in the accretion disc of a young star have been seen. The new research, published today in the journal Nature, shows that the gas streams found around a star named …

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Cassini to Track Venus Transit, Study Exoplanets

NASA announced today that it will begin using the Cassini probe’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) for uses other than studying Saturn and its moons. On Friday, from its vantage point in orbit around Saturn, the VIMS will be used to track Venus as it travels across the face of the sun. A similar Venus transit could be seen …

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New “Super-Jupiter” Directly Imaged by Astronomers

Astronomers have directly imaged a “super-Jupiter” planet orbiting around the star Kappa Andromedae. According to NASA, Kappa Andromedae now holds the record for the most massive star to host a directly imaged planet or lightweight brown dwarf companion. The planet, designated Kappa Andromedae b (Kappa And b), has a mass 12.8 times greater than Jupiter’s, making it almost a low-mass …

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NASA’s Kepler Telescope Ends Its Prime Mission, Begins Another

NASA this week marked the end of the Kepler Space Telescope’s prime mission, which began in March 2009. Like other NASA equipment, the telescope is now beginning another, extended mission NASA says could last as long as four years. Kepler’s prime mission was to determine what fraction of stars might have Earth-like planets in their orbit. So far, the telescope …

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Close Rogue Planet Identified by ESO Astronomers

Astronomers have identified what is “very probably” a relatively close-by planet hurtling through space – not orbiting a star. The European Southern Observatory used its Very Large Telescope and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope to study the object, which it calls the “most exciting free-floating planet candidate so far.” The ESO stated that at only 100 light-years away, the planet is the …

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New “Super Earth” Planet Discovered in Six-Planet System

U.K. and German Astronomers announced this week that they have discovered a new “super Earth” planet that could, conceivably, have an Earth-like climate. The planet exists in the habitable zone of a nearby star called HD 40307 and is part of a six-planet system. The system was previously believed to have only three planets, each too close to the star …

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