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Rare Stellar Alignment Helps in Hunt for Planets
Topic: New Planets
06/08/13
The red dwarf Proxima Centauri is about to make a rare conjunction with two background stars. Observations of the event could determine if Earth-sized worlds orbit our nearest stellar neighbor.

Lightest Exoplanet Imaged So Far?
Topic: New Planets
06/05/13
Astronomers have imaged a faint object moving near a bright star. The object has an estimated mass of four to five times that of Jupiter, making it the least massive planet directly observed thus far.

Investigating Exoplanet Surfaces
Topic: New Planets
05/23/13
In order to better understand the composition of rocky exoplanets, researchers have proposed a method to identify chemical signatures from surface materials. A better understanding of exoplanet surface compositions will help researchers determine the prevalence of Earth-like planets in our galaxy.

New Method of Finding Planets Scores First Discovery
Topic: New Planets
05/17/13
Astronomers have discovered an exoplanet using a new method that relies on Einstein’s special theory of relativity. The new method can’t be used to hunt for Earth-sized worlds using current technology, but it does have some advantages over other popular techniques.

Sifting Through the Atmospheres of Far-Off Worlds
Topic: New Planets
05/15/13
Using infrared pictures from ground-based telescopes, astronomers have collected precise information about the composition of four planets orbiting a bright star. The technique is one of many methods being examined for use in studying exoplanet atmospheres.

The Great Exoplanet Debate, part 10: The Last Word in Exoplanets
Topic: New Planets
05/13/13
At a recent NASA conference, a panel of exoplanet scientists held a lively discussion about some of the most important issues facing the search for and understanding of planets orbiting far-distant stars. In the final part of this series, the panel discussion wraps up with more questions and comments from the audience.

Spitzer Space Telescope Dissects Hot Jupiters
Topic: New Planets
05/11/13
Astronomers have made the longest observation yet of a hot Jupiter. By observing the HAT-P-2 system for six days, scientists have uncovered new details of the strange and distant world.

The Great Exoplanet Debate, part 9: When Exoplanets Make Headlines
Topic: New Planets
05/06/13
At a recent NASA conference, a panel of exoplanet scientists held a lively discussion about some of the most important issues facing the search for and understanding of planets orbiting far-distant stars. In part nine of this series, the audience asks questions and makes comments about the portrayal of exoplanets in the media.

Far-off Solar Systems Studied Through 'Characterization by Proxy'
Topic: New Planets
04/30/13
Astronomers are using a clever technique to study stars that are too far away to measure directly, and the planets they host. The method involves comparing the small, relatively cool stars to closer stars that are easier to observe.

The Great Exoplanet Debate, part 8: The Exoplanets That Cried Wolf
Topic: New Planets
04/29/13
At a recent NASA conference, exoplanet scientists held a lively discussion about issues facing the search for and understanding of planets orbiting far-distant stars. In part eight of this series, the panelists debate whether the many press releases about the possible habitability of new-found planets risk “crying wolf”.

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