Articles about exoplanets

Boffins: 68 exoplanets in prime locations to SPY on humanity on Earth

Scientists on Earth have found thousands of exoplanets – but which of those potential alien civilizations are in the best position to discover us? It’s a question that a team of physicists from Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Germany have been grappling with …

Two hot Jupiters around two similar stars orbiting at similar distances look similar, right? WRONG

WASP-67 b and HAT-P-38 b are two far-flung exoplanets orbiting near-identical stars at similar distances. Their size and temperatures are also pretty close. So, naturally, astronomers thought that their atmospheres wouldn't be too far apart. They were wrong. "We don't see what we're expecting," said Giovanni Bruno, a …
Andrew Silver, 6 Jun 2017

Gravitational lensing event could provide ideal conditions for planet hunting

A rare gravitational lensing event will give researchers a precious chance at hunting new planets in Alpha Centauri in 2028, astronomers have predicted. Research published [PDF] in Astronomy & Astrophysics shows that data taken from the European Southern Observatory’s telescopes has led researchers to predict a gravitational …
Katyanna Quach, 24 Oct 2016
Artist’s impression of deep blue planet HD 189733b

We're doing SETI the wrong and long way around, say boffins

If there are other civilisations out there on Earth-like planets orbiting Sun-like stars, we're likely to waste a lot of time filtering out billions of prospects. That's led McMaster University (located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) boffins to suggest we thin out the field, by looking at planets that are in a position to …
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Russian billionaire: GET me the ALIENS ON THE PHONE. Do it NOW

Humanity's quest to discover intelligent aliens resident in other star systems has received a big boost from well-known Russian biz overlord Yuri Milner, who has splashed $100m on the search with the endorsement of famous boffin Stephen Hawking. A project he calls Breakthrough Listen will give SETI researchers access to the …
Jennifer Baker, 20 Jul 2015
Night sky over Hawaii

ROBOT telescope discovers ENORMOUS planetary neighbours

A robotic telescope enslaved by the will of astroboffins has done their bidding and discovered three "supersized Earths" orbiting a star in our galactic neighbourhood. Based at Lick Observatory, the robotic telescope scans the sky every night in search of new Earth-like planets for colonisation study. In a freely available …
Concept art depicting the lights of an ET civilisation on an exoplanet. Credit: David A Aguilar (CfA)

ALIENS are surely AMONG US: Average star has TWO potentially Earth-like worlds

Boffins in Australia have applied a hundreds-of-years-old astronomical rule to data from the Kepler planet-hunting space telescope. They've come to the conclusion that the average star in our galaxy has not one but two Earth-size planets in its "goldilocks" zone where liquid water - and thus, life along Earthly lines - could …
Lewis Page, 5 Feb 2015
The NGTS telescope array

Earth-bound exoplanet hunter's eyes blink open

The European Space Observatory (ESO) is reporting “first light” from the world's latest exoplanet hunter, an Earth-based optical instrument in Chile. The Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) at the ESO's Paranal observatory in the north of the country will, like NASA's Kepler space telescope, try to detect exoplanets as they …

Alien Earths are out there: Our home is not 'unique'

New research suggests planets similar to our Earth are much more common across the galaxy than previously thought. And the boffins behind this revelation have also come up with a simple chemical recipe for creating habitable worlds suitable for use by advanced super-powered intelligences and/or deities etc. "Our solar system …
Lewis Page, 6 Jan 2015

NASA: ALIENS and NEW EARTHS will be ours inside 20 years

A group of top NASA scientists told the space agency's chief yesterday that the forthcoming generation of space telescopes are likely to discover habitable Earth-like worlds and probably alien life – perhaps within 20 years. We're all someone's Sun "Sometime in the near future, people will be able to point to a star and say …
Lewis Page, 15 Jul 2014
The M55 star cluster

Boffins publish SciFi story to announce exoplanet find

Boffins from the Queen Mary University of London have chosen an unusual way to announce a new exoplanet find, commissioning a short story describing the recently-revealed worlds. There's a paper about the find too, and a promise of more to come in a future issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The …
Artist's impression of an exoplanet orbiting a star in the cluster Messier 67

Exoplanets' chemicals may give false-positives for life, boffins say

Astronomers and exobiologists looking for spectral signatures as indicators of life might be chasing a chimera. That's the gloomy conclusion of a study published at PNAS, which says inferring the existence of biospheres on exoplanets “might be beyond our reach in the foreseeable future”. Since all we know about exoplanets is …
Seven worlds in the Habitable Exoplanets Catalog

Hey, George Clooney. LOST in SPACE... and thirsty? Visit these 5 ALIEN worlds*

Boffins using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have spotted faint signs of water on five distant planets orbiting stars beyond our Solar System. Youtube Video The presence of atmospheric water on a few exoplanets has been seen before, but the new study had been able to measure how much water there is on the multiple worlds. Two …

Watery asteroid discovered 150 light-years off hints at habitable worlds

A European trio of researchers has discovered a "circumstellar disk" – a corpse, in other words – of a minor planet that was about 26 per cent water. The discovery of the rocky remains, found orbiting a white dwarf star 150 light years over the rainbow, gives credence to the theory that our own Earth's watery condition was …
Rik Myslewski, 11 Oct 2013

Boffins: Earth will be habitable for only 1.75 BEEELLION more years

Unless we meddlesome humans – or our follow-on Earth inhabitants – muck up our planet with a nuclear holocaust, runaway greenhouse emissions, or some other ecological disaster, our 4.54-billion-year-old home should be habitable for at least the next 1.75 billion years. Well, there's always the possibility of chance encounter …
Rik Myslewski, 20 Sep 2013
Artist's illustration of a planet in very near orbit to its star

Tiny fireball exoplanet completes one year in 8.5 hours

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered a new, Earth-sized exoplanet for which orbiting its star is literally all in a day's work. The newly discovered planet, dubbed Kepler 78b, completes one full revolution around its star in just 8.5 hours – fast enough that by the time you clock in at the …
Neil McAllister, 19 Aug 2013

NASA: Earth II may be hiding in unexamined data from injured Kepler

NASA has revealed that the Kepler spacecraft, which has been busily hunting for exoplanets for over four years, is no longer capable of carrying out its primary mission – but there's plenty of life left in the ol' girl yet, and plenty of planet-hunting data left to be analyzed. "What we're saying is done today is our precision …
Rik Myslewski, 15 Aug 2013
The Register breaking news

Kepler continues exoplanet bonanza

Data from the Kepler space telescope has yielded yet more Earth-like planets, with a University of Washington researcher identifying a second “habitable zone” super-Earth orbiting the star dubbed Kepler-62. The rocky Kepler 62f is estimated at 1.4 times the size of Earth, and receives a solar flux about half as much as Earth, …

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