NASA Scientists find 20 potentially habitable planets

Trick or treat? I’m dressed as a habitable planet.

Earth-sized planets all have relatively circular orbits, study finds

For decades, researchers have studied our planet’s orbit with growing interest: is there something special about the way the Earth revolves around the Sun, is it a necessary condition for life to emerge? A team of researchers from MIT studied 74 Earth-sized exoplanets and reports that all of them have fairly circular orbits around their stars. Circular vs Eccentric The

NASA reports the first Earth-sized Exoplanet in the Habitable Zone

Remember a few days ago, when I was telling you about the big conference NASA had planned for today? Well, they sure didn’t disappoint! The team of astrophysicists from the SETI Institute and NASA’s Ames Research Center have just reported a major milestone: for the first time, they have found an Earth-sized planet at the right distance from its star – right

New, more precise method to measure exoplanet mass

In the past two decades alone, some 900 exoplanets – planets outside our solar system – have been identified, with some 2300 more in queue. Most of these were confirmed using the now discontinued Kepler space telescope. It’s remarkable how much scientists can find out about a distant plant, hundreds of light years away, simply by studying how light emitted

1 in 5 stars may have Earth-sized planets

A statistical analysis of observations based on the Kepler telescope indicates that 20 percent of all stars in the Milky Way host earth-sized planets, a significant part of which could potentially be habitable. Habitable planets in the Milky Way NASA’s Kepler telescope is crippled – it’s reached the end of its four year mission, but it provided an immense amount

Planet that shouldn’t exist baffles scientists

It’s a big, bad, lava world – and according to what we know about astronomy, it simply shouldn’t exist. Kepler-78b circles its star every 8 and 1/2 hours, featuring one of the tightest known orbtits. According to currently accepted theories on planetary formation, it couldn’t have formed so close to its star, nor could it have migrated there. “This planet

Kepler finds first known tilted solar system

Observations from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft have for the first time uncovered a ’tilted’ solar system, with two planets orbiting a star at a 45-degree angle. Did you ever wonder why the planets from our Solar System are all in the same plane? They formed from a flat disc of gas and dust revolving around the Sun’s equator – Earth’s orbit

First cloud map of an extrasolar planet

Astronomers have created the first cloud map of a planet outside our solar system, a sizzling, Jupiter-like world known as Kepler-7b. NASA’s Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes found patchy clouds on this hot Jupiter which was discovered in January 2010. Hot Jupiters are some of the most common planets from what we know so far; they are gas giants just

Stars don’t consume their planets – usually

Stars have a pull on all planets, but they exhibit a special kind of attraction towards a class of planets called ‘Hot Jupiters‘. Hot Jupiters, also called roaster planets or pegadisds are a class of extrasolar planets very similar to Jupiter, but which have very high temperatures because they orbit very close to the Sun. It is thought that all

Most promising Earth-like planets found by Kepler

The ever resourceful Kepler mission has recently unveiled several new possible Earth-like planet candidates, two of whom are favored by scientists with the best odds yet of supporting alien life. The pair actually orbits around the same star, called Kepler 62, after NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, which is smaller and dimmer than our own star. Kepler 62 is some 1,200 light years

Earth-like planets closer than previously thought. Nearest one might lie 13 light-years away

After researchers surveyed data from the Kepler mission tasked with identifying possibly habitable planets outside our solar system they found that 6% of red dwarfs – the most common type of planets – are within this zone. This new adjustment would mean that the nearest Earth-like planet might lie just 13 light years away. Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for

Kepler telescope – Earth size planets number ’17 billion’

Astronomers working on the Kepler telescope believe that every 1 in 6 stars hosts at least an Earth-sized planet in a close orbit, raising the number of such planets in our galaxy to 17 billion. Finding planets Astrophysicists also announced 461 new planet candidates discovered by the telescope; this raises the number of planets discovered by Kepler to 2,740 –

New super-Earth exoplanet is a mere 46 light-years away

Astronomers have used a novel planet hunter instrument to detect a new possible life supporting, Earth-like exoplanet. In fact the new planet is classed as a super-Earth, since it has a minimum mass of 7.1 times that of our planet, and is properly located on its parent star’s orbit to support the presence of liquid water – the main prerequisite

New ESA planet-hunter space telescope slated for 2017

The European Space Agency has officially announced that it will launch a new space telescope tasked with the primary objective of finding Earth-like planets in our neighboring cosmic backyard. Though the mission’s budget is rather small, there’s nothing modest about its goals. Dubbed CHEOPS or CHaracterising ExOPlanets Satellite, at the end of its 3.5 year-long scheduled mission the space telescope should offer a

Newly discovered solar system is very similar to our own

Researchers at MIT, the University of California at Santa Cruz and other institutions have come across the first exoplanetary system, whose planets exhibit a regularly aligned orbit, after analyzing data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope. So far, other discovered exoplanetary systems had planets, particularly hot-Jupiters, which presented  far more eccentric orbits. Our solar system is comprised of eight planets, each orbiting their own

Two newly discovered alien planets form closest known pair in the Universe

Kepler, a space telescope on a mission to find alien planets by measuring dips in the brightness of more than 150,000 stars, has come across a fantastic discovery. Two planets orbiting a distant star, which are closer to one another than any other two planets discovered thus far. Apparently, from the surface of the smaller planet, its neighbor would appear about the size

Superflares 10,000 times more powerful than those in our solar system, observed on sun-like stars

Some stars, most often during their early life, exhibit an intense and energetic behavior, much greater than that of our own sun, despite a similar size, per say. In the first survey of its kind, scientists at Kyoto University have analyzed sun flares erupting on the surface of distant stars through out our galaxy. They found that some solar flares were

Turns out, another solar system has more planets than ours

Our solar system is special for two reasons: the first one, obviously – is us. Our solar system is the only one we know of so far that hosts life. The second one is the number of planets – no other solar system that we’ve seen until now had as many planets as ours, but this has just changed. The

SETI to check recently discovered Kepler science

There’s been a lot of buzz around the planets discovered by the Kepler telescope, particularly about Kepler-22b – the planet which, outside Earth, has the biggest chances to host life (that we know of). Now, SETI will tune in and start listening to see if there are any aliens with something to say on those planets. SETI struggles Sadly, SETI

Newest found planet is just the right temperature for life

The race for finding habitable planets outside our solar system is definitely heating up. After we told you about Gliese, a planet which seems habitable enough, researchers have reported finding yet another planet, which is not too hot and not too cold either – Kepler-22b is just the right temperature for life as we know it: 72 degrees, a perfect