New Planets

  • Questioning Terrestrial Planets
    Looking for biosignatures that would be characteristic of intelligent life is not always about extrapolating the most intelligent things a species might be doing. For instance, would one look for pollutants in the atmosphere?
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  • Crunching the Numbers
    Maggie Turnbull, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution, has spent many years thinking about what kind of stars could harbor Earth-like planets. Her database of potentially habitable star systems could be used as a target list for NASA's forthcoming Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) mission.
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  • Explaining Eccentricities
    When astronomers discovered that the planets around Upsilon Andromedae had very strange orbits, they weren't sure what could have caused it. Researchers from Berkeley and Northwestern have developed a simulation that shows how an additional planet could have given the other planets the orbital kick.
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  • The Wolf: New Planet or Brown Dwarf Star?
    Located in the Lupus I (the Wolf) cloud, a region of star formation about 400 or 500 light-years away, a young T-Tauri star may be either a new planet or a failed star. Although the borderline between the two is still a matter of debate,
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  • Surfing the Wavelengths
    Maggie Turnbull, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution, has spent many years thinking about what kind of stars could harbor Earth-like planets. Her database of potentially habitable star systems could be used as a target list for NASA's upcoming Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) mission.
    more...
  • Dying Stars, Melting Planets
    Dying stars may warm previously frozen worlds around them to the point where liquid water temperature exists long enough for life to form, according to a new analysis of the evolution of habitable zones around stars by an international team of astronomers.
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  • First Light from Extrasolar Planets
    Most of the 150 known extrasolar planets are discovered and studied through techniques such as finding the telltale wobble of a star tugged by an orbiting planet, or the blink of a star as a planet passes in front of it. Now for the first
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  • Twinkle, Twinkle…Large Planet
    An international team of astronomers has accurately determined the radius and mass of the smallest core-burning star known until now. It is the first time that direct observations demonstrate that stars less massive than 1/10th of the solar mass are of nearly the same size
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  • A Dozen New Planets Found
    The past four weeks have been heady ones in the planet-finding world: Three teams of astronomers announced the discovery of 12 previously unknown worlds, bringing the total count of planets outside our solar system to 145.
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  • Carbon World
    Most of the rocky planets familiar to us are predominantly silicate worlds, but a proposal for carbon or even diamond-like planets may add to the diversity of known solar systems.
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  • Moon, Planet or Star?
    A strange miniature solar system may be composed of a star only slightly larger than a planet. At this scale, are the celestial objects that orbit it, planets or moons?
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  • Race for Pale Blue Dot Image Quickens
    Astronomers announced the first results of a search for extrasolar planets and brown dwarfs in an unlikely place--the stellar graveyard. A research team found two candidate planets in its survey of 20 dead stars--white dwarfs at distances between 24 and 220 light-years.
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  • Hubble Spies New World
    In the southern constellation Hydra, about 225 light-years away orbits what may be a planet and its parent brown dwarf star. Because an extrasolar planet has never been directly imaged before, this remarkable observation required Hubble's unique abilities to do follow-up to test and validate
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  • New Worlds, Living Large
    Counting down the top ten astrobiology stories for 2004 highlights the accomplishments of those exploring Mars, Saturn, comets, and planets beyond Pluto. Number three in this countdown was the remarkable progress in discovering new planets in other solar systems.
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  • Planet Swapping
    Could a passing star exchange planets with our own Sun? Computer simulations suggest that a glancing blow might contribute far outer planets following star disk collisions.
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