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Double Discovery: Super-Earth and Ocean World
Topic: New Planets
Researchers have made two amazing discoveries regarding the Gliese 581 system. The star is orbited by the lightest exoplanet ever found, less than twice the mass of the Earth. One of the other planets in this system, a super-Earth, orbits within the star´s habitable zone. Astronomers may have found a solar system where alien life is possible.

Hubble Finds Hidden Exoplanet
Topic: New Planets
Using a new image-processing technique, astronomers have discovered a new extrasolar planet by looking back through archived data from the Hubble Space Telescope. The new technique could help identify additional planets hidden in the more than 10 years of Hubble data currently available.

Starlight, Star Bright
Topic: New Planets
On March 6, NASA launched Kepler, a telescope that will search for distant Earths by studying 100,000 stars simultaneously. But to examine the atmospheres of distant Earths for signs of life, says Sara Seagar of MIT, NASA may need to build a fleet of hundreds of tiny orbiting telescopes.

Kepler Ready to Search for Earths
Topic: New Planets
NASA's Kepler mission has been successfully launched into space. Kepler is designed to find Earth-size planets that may have liquid water on their surfaces. Liquid water is believed to be essential for the formation of life.

A Very Hot Earth
Topic: New Planets
With observations from COROT telescope, astronomers have identified smallest exoplanet. The planet is less than twice the size of Earth, orbits a sun-like star and is solid to walk on. This important discovery widens the scope for astronomers searching for habitable, Earth-like planets around distant stars.

A Sizzling Weather Report
Topic: New Planets
Astronomers have managed to yield important clues about the atmosphere of a distant planet as it swung close to its parent star. The information also allowed them to make realistic simulations of what the planet might look like.

Transiting Neptune
Topic: New Planets
Astronomers have discovered a planet somewhat larger and more massive than Neptune as it passed in front of its parent star. This 'transit' method of finding planets is useful because it can yield information about the physical properties of the planet.

Seeing Exoplanets from Earth
Topic: New Planets
Two independent groups have made the first ground-based detection of thermal emissions from extrasolar planets. The studies open a new frontier for monitoring alien worlds from Earth, and also paves the way for further observations of extrasolar atmospheres.

Astrobiology Top 10: Seeing a Distant Planet
Topic: New Planets
Astrobiology Magazine is looking back over 2008, highlighting the top 10 astrobiology stories of the year. At number 2 is the first visible-light photograph of an extrasolar planet. The planet is about the size of Jupiter, and scientists believe that the system in which it resides could harbor more worlds (This story originally was published on November 15, 2008).

The Evolution of EPOXI
Topic: New Planets
In this podcast, Tim Livengood and Vikki Meadows discuss the EPOXI mission and how it will be used to search for Earth-like planets in alien solar systems.

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