New Planets

  • Sweeping for Unseen Worlds
    The problem of finding a world one cannot see is detective work for some of the most powerful ground-based telescopes. One challenge is to observe dust disks for signs of planets by their expected swept trails.
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  • Cosmic Cowboy
    A brand of researcher can now breathe life into the aura of a patient nomad who searches the horizon for signs of a new world. McDonald Observatory astronomer Bill Cochran discusses how a West Texas telescope has begun chalking up discoveries of extrasolar planets.
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  • The Search for More Earths
    When astronomers first realized that the stars in the sky were like our Sun, only more distant, they wondered if those stars had planets too. And if they have planets, is there life? Intelligent life? There's an answer - yes or no - but we
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  • Get in Line to Find Extrasolar Planet
    The largest continental telescope also sees in the darkest sky. Using a novel method to queue its best exposures on a schedule with the full moon, the West Texas observatory has identified its first extrasolar planet around a star comparable in composition to our own
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  • Young Planet Challenges Old Theories
    The Spitzer Space Telescope has detected youngest planet ever found, claim NASA scientists. Planets are thought to take millions of years to form after a star is born, but discovery of a million-year old star with planet already in orbit around it means scientists may
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  • Two New Very Hot Jupiters
    The transit method of new planet discovery relies on observing distant eclipses. Faint starlight decreases once during each orbit as the inferred planet passes between Earth and the star. The second and third new planets discovered using this technique are reported to be large,
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  • Nearby Planet Nursery
    In an exclusive interview with Berkeley astronomer, Paul Kalas, he describes how their planet-finding team uncovered a nearby nursery that may include the closest star with an embryonic solar system in the making.
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  • New Planet, Magnified
    The gravity of a star can act as a lens, focusing and intensifying the light of a star behind it. The combined light from the two stars causes that point in the night sky to suddenly appear much brighter. For the first time, a
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  • How Many Earths?
    About half of hundred solar systems with known planets may hold potential Earths. Simulating whether such stars and outer planets might eject an Earth-like world, the results also suggest another possibility, a habitable moon around a much larger Jupiter-like world.
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  • Nearest Young Planet-forming Star Found
    The nearest, youngest star with dusty debris disk - the stuff from which planets form - has been found by Berkeley and Hawaii astronomers a mere 33 light-years away.
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  • A Good Planet Is Hard To Find?
    Harvard-Smithsonian astronomers have simulated the early planet formation around stars like our own. It turns out that an alien astronomer could have seen the embryonic Earth in its earliest dusty stages.
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  • Dying Planet Leaks Carbon-Oxygen
    Using the Hubble Space Telescope to view a star dim, international researchers have identified the first extrasolar planet with a carbon and oxygen signature. While unlikely to be habitable, this gas giant adds to the menagerie of other worlds and their unusual properties.
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  • Gem Sorting for the Next Earth
    Which star is most like our own Sun? This intriguing question offers a chance to test hypotheses about what places might make for a good Earth-like, habitable planet. The best found so far may well be the 37th most westerly star in the constellation, Gemini,
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  • Twin Planets Survive Solar Blow-Out
    Two planets in the constellation Aquarius have been discovered and appear to have survived a catastrophic event in the life of a sun--the inevitable expansion to a red giant. The discovery brings the tally of extrasolar planets found to 118.
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  • Planet First Magnetic Roaster
    Among the nearly 120 planets discovered so far, the first one with a magnetic field has some surprising behavior. It's enormous size and close orbit may intertwine its magnetic field with a parent star, such that the planet is heating the sun.
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