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…

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…

“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.…

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…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…