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'Water-Trapped' Worlds
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
07/18/13
A new study takes a deeper look into the fate of water on Earth-like planets that orbit red dwarf stars. Many of these exoplanets quickly become "tidally locked," with one side always facing their reddish star while the other side freezes in permanent night.

Disks Don't Need Planets to Make Patterns
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
07/14/13
A new study cautions against interpreting rings and spiral arms in dusty disks around young stars as a sign that planets are present.

Gas Giant Planets Cling Close to Their Stars
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
07/09/13
Gemini Observatory’s Planet-Finding Campaign finds that, around many types of stars, distant gas-giant planets are rare and prefer to cling close to their parent stars. The impact on theories of planetary formation could be significant.

Variations in the Atmospheres of Hot Jupiters
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
07/08/13
When studying eight 'hot Jupiter' planets, astronomers found that winds and clouds play an important role in their atmospheric makeups.

Deadly Stellar Winds Could Put a Stop to Life
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
07/06/13
A new study could allow astronomers to observe shockwaves created when charged particles crash into the magnetic fields of planets around distant stars. Studying the magnetospheres of extrasolar planets could help determine if they are habitable for life as we know it.

Red Dwarf Stars Could Strip Away Planetary Protection
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
07/03/13
A new study casts doubt on the idea that red dwarf stars could host numerous habitable planets in the Universe. The magnetic field of such stars could adversely affect the magnetic fields of orbiting planets, leaving life at their surfaces vulnerable to space radiation.

Sunny Super-Earth?
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
06/25/13
Astronomers have observed the atmosphere of the super-Earth “GJ 3470b” using two telescopes. The study indicates that the planet, which is about 14 times the mass of Earth, is not covered by thick clouds.

Exoplanet Formation Surprise
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
06/23/13
Astronomers have discovered what looks like a planet forming at an incredible distance from its host star. The finding adds to the variety of planetary systems known in the Milky Way.

Star's 'Dust Trap' May Solve Planet Formation Mystery
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
06/15/13
Astrobiologists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope have uncovered new clues about how rocky planets form and evolve from disks of gas and dust.

Stellar Winds May Electrify Planets
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
06/11/13
A new model suggests that some exoplanets may be heated by electric currents linked to their host stars. The phenomenon arises from interactions between a planet's magnetic field and the hot charged wind from its star.

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