Hot rocky exoplanets may have atmospheres of vapourised rock, says Brian Jackson of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre,
Archive for the ‘Extrasolar systems’ Category
If a volcano with the explosive power of 600,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs blew up on a planet 30 light-years away, would we notice?
Intense heat from the nearby star of a hot Jupiter is creating turbulent storms that envelope the entire planet says Dr. Adam Showman of the University of Arizona, USA. Showman, who is at the forefront of research into weather on hot Jupiters, presented his models describing atmospheric circulation at the Exoclimes conference at the University of Exeter.
Observations by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope of light from the exoplanet Gliese 436b have identified an atmosphere filled with carbon monoxide but exhibiting a puzzling lack of methane, says Professor Joseph Harrington of the University of Florida, who presented the results at the Exoclimes conference at the University of Exeter this week.
Any driver who’s seen deer silhouetted by the headlights of an oncoming car knows that vital information can be conveyed by the outlines of objects.
Only a few years ago, astronomers were thrilled if they found a star beyond the solar system harboring a single planet. Now they’re discovering more and more multiple-planet systems that may offer new clues about the formation of planets and their evolution.
Astronomers peering at a large alien planet have found it to be covered by an atmosphere unlike that of any extrasolar planet yet seen.
Of the hundreds of exoplanets found so far, there’s one that’s remained elusive and infamous 12 years after its purported discovery.
Once ridiculed as being a false start, it may have now returned from the dead.
Over the past 15 years much planet-hunting has focused on simply cataloging individual worlds whirling about other stars. This search was turbo-boosted last week. Two teams of astronomers reported that they are at the point where they can study of the architecture of entire planetary systems.
A planetary system 125 light-years away could represent the largest collection of known worlds outside the solar system
Astronomers have discovered a group of at least five planets – with hints of two more – circling around a star in an arrangement similar to our own solar system.
NASA is expected to make an announcement Thursday on the progress of its Kepler spacecraft, which has been staring at one patch of space for evidence of other worlds.
A new European space observatory could join the hunt for life-bearing planets beyond our solar system if it is selected for full development next year.
Scientists have found hundreds of Jupiter-class planets circling stars beyond the solar system, yet none of them share our Jupiter’s proclivity for moons. The problem may not just be that extrasolar moons are hard to find.
NASA’s mini fiasco in public communication last week was a scientist’s attempt at public outreach gone awry. Kepler mission co-investigator Dimitar Sasselov of Harvard University, speaking at the popular TED talks, tried to convey the excitement of hunting for Earth-size planets orbiting in the habitable zones of other stars.
You’ve probably heard of the Kepler mission, an instrument launched to find Earth-like planets in the heavens. (If you haven’t, get some background here.) Well, they’ve found some. But they’re not talking.
As if the debate over what is and what is not a planet hasn’t gotten confusing enough, Hubble Space Telescope astronomers have now confirmed the existence of a tortured, baked object that could be called a “cometary planet.” The gas giant planet, dubbed HD 209458b, is orbiting so close to its star that its heated atmosphere is escaping away into space.
A brand new technique for finding exoplanets, which piggybacks on an already established method, has turned up its first discovery, a planet 15 times the mass of Earth orbiting the star WASP-3. It also promises to be able to find Earth-sized planets.
Recent discoveries of gas giant planets in unusual orbits challenge the generally accepted theory of planet formation. While these discoveries do not disprove the theory, they have opened our eyes to chaotic solar systems quite unlike our own.
A reader reminded me that today is the 63rd anniversary of the so-called Roswell UFO Incident. Even if you know nothing else about the UFO phenomenon, you certainly have heard about what supposedly happened in Roswell, New Mexico in July, 1947: a crashed flying saucer, autopsies on alien bodies, Government cover-ups. It ushered in the 1950’s kitsch of bubble-headed little green space jockeys inside silvery saucers flitting across our skies.