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Preview: Brightsurf Science News :: Extrasolar Planets News

Extrasolar Planets Current Events and Extrasolar Planets News from Brightsurf

Extrasolar Planets Current Events and Extrasolar Planets News Events, Discoveries and Articles from Brightsurf

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15 new planets confirmed around cool dwarf stars

Mon, 12 Mar 18 00:05:10 -0700

Scientists report the existence of 15 new planets -- including one 'super-Earth' that could harbor liquid water -- orbiting small, cool stars near our solar system. These stars, known as red dwarfs[1], are of enormous interest for studies of planetary formation and evolution.

NASA's Webb Telescope to make a splash in search for interstellar water

Fri, 09 Mar 18 00:14:50 -0800

Water is crucial for life, but how do you make water? Cooking up some H2O takes more than mixing hydrogen and oxygen. It requires the special conditions found deep within frigid molecular clouds, where dust shields against destructive ultraviolet light and aids chemical reactions. NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will peer into these cosmic reservoirs to gain new insights into the origin and evolution of water and other key building blocks for habitable planets.

JHU performs first laboratory simulation of exoplanet atmospheric chemistry

Thu, 08 Mar 18 00:07:00 -0800

Scientists have conducted the first lab experiments on haze formation in simulated exoplanet atmospheres, an important step for understanding upcoming observations of planets outside the solar system with the James Webb Space Telescope.

Unveiling the depths of Jupiter's winds

Thu, 08 Mar 18 00:10:20 -0800

Are the colorful bands just a pretty surface phenomenon, or are they a significant stratum of the planet? The Weizmann Institute's Prof. Yohai Kaspi led this research in which measurements from NASA's Juno spacecraft were analyzed to reveal that the stripes -- belts of strong winds circling the planet - extend to a depth of about 3,000 km.

Hubble finds huge system of dusty material enveloping the young star HR 4796A

Tue, 06 Mar 18 00:14:30 -0800

Astronomers have used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to uncover a vast, complex dust structure, about 150 billion miles across, enveloping the young star HR 4796A.

Hubble observes exoplanet atmosphere in more detail than ever before

Thu, 01 Mar 18 00:01:30 -0800

An international team of scientists has used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to study the atmosphere of the hot exoplanet WASP-39b. By combining this new data with older data they created the most complete study yet of an exoplanet atmosphere. The atmospheric composition of WASP-39b hints that the formation processes of exoplanets can be very different from those of our own Solar System giants.

The moon formed inside a vaporized Earth synestia

Wed, 28 Feb 18 00:01:00 -0800

A new explanation for the Moon's origin has it forming inside the Earth when our planet was a seething, spinning cloud of vaporized rock, called a synestia. The new model led by researchers at UC Davis and Harvard University resolves several problems in lunar formation and is published Feb. 28 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

When do aging brown dwarfs sweep the clouds away?

Tue, 27 Feb 18 00:14:30 -0800

Brown dwarfs, the larger cousins of giant planets, undergo atmospheric changes from cloudy to cloudless as they age and cool. A team of astronomers measured for the first time the temperature at which this shift happens in young brown dwarfs. Their findings, published by The Astrophysical Journal Letters, may help them better understand how gas giant planets like our own Solar System's Jupiter evolved.

Life under extreme drought conditions

Mon, 26 Feb 18 00:09:20 -0800

The core region of the Atacama Desert is one of the most arid places on earth. However, scientists have found microorganisms there. But it has remained unclear whether these environments support active microbial growth or whether the observed cells were introduced by wind transport and subsequently degraded. Detailed analyses show: Even in the most arid zones of the Atacama a microbial community exists which becomes metabolically active following episodic increase in moisture after rainfalls.

Quantum recurrence: Everything goes back to the way it was

Thu, 22 Feb 18 00:09:10 -0800

When a complex system is left alone, it will return to its initial state with almost perfect precision. Gas particles in a container, for example, will return almost exactly to their starting positions after some time. For decades, scientists have investigated how this 'Poincaré Recurrence Theorem' can be applied to the world of quantum physics. Now, researchers at TU Wien (Vienna) have successfully demonstrated a kind of 'Poincaré recurrence' in a multi-particle quantum system.

Pulsating Aurora mysteries uncovered with help from NASA's THEMIS mission

Tue, 20 Feb 18 00:01:20 -0800

The precise mechanism driving pulsating auroras, long unknown, has now been identified with help from NASA's THEMIS mission.

The superionic form of water

Tue, 20 Feb 18 00:05:10 -0800

A recent study confirms the predictions made by a group of SISSA and ICTP scientists in a study published in Science in 1999. Liquid and solid at the same time, superionic water could be found on Uranus and Neptune.

A mineral blueprint for finding Burgess Shale-type fossils

Fri, 16 Feb 18 00:00:40 -0800

Scientists have identified a mineral signature for sites that are more likely to contain rare fossils that preserve evidence of soft tissue -- essential information to understanding ancient life.

ASU professor Davies addresses why we have yet to find extraterrestrial life

Fri, 16 Feb 18 00:01:50 -0800

Are we alone in the universe? Few questions have captured the public imagination more than this. Yet to date we know of just one sample of life, that which exists here on Earth. Arizona State University Regents Professor and noted cosmologist Paul Davies will talk about efforts to identify extraterrestrial life at a press briefing Feb. 16 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Austin, Texas.

Kepler scientists discover almost 100 new exoplanets

Thu, 15 Feb 18 00:16:00 -0800

Based on data from NASA's K2 mission an international team of scientists have just confirmed nearly 100 new exoplanets, planets located outside our solar system. This brings the total number of new exoplanets found with the K2 mission up to almost 300. The new results are to be published in the Astronomical Journal.

Soft tissue fossil clues could help search for ancient life on Earth and other planets

Thu, 15 Feb 18 00:11:50 -0800

Fossils that preserve entire organisms (including both hard and soft body parts) are critical to our understanding of evolution and ancient life on Earth. However, these exceptional deposits are extremely rare. New Oxford University research suggests that the mineralogy of the surrounding earth is key to conserving soft parts of organisms, and finding more exceptional fossils. Part-funded by NASA, the work could potentially support the Mars Rover Curiosity in its sample analysis, and speed up the search for traces of life on other planets.

UChicago astrophysicists settle cosmic debate on magnetism of planets and stars

Fri, 09 Feb 18 00:00:30 -0800

Using one of the world's most powerful laser facilities, a team led by University of Chicago scientists experimentally confirmed a long-held theory for cosmic magnetic field generation: the turbulent dynamo. By creating a hot turbulent plasma the size of a penny, that lasts a few billionths of a second, the researchers recorded how the turbulent motions can amplify a weak magnetic field to the strengths of those observed in our sun, distant stars, and galaxies.

Are you rocky or are you gassy?

Thu, 08 Feb 18 00:09:20 -0800

A star about 100 light years away in the Pisces constellation, GJ 9827, hosts what may be one of the most massive and dense super-Earth planets detected to date according to new research led by Carnegie's Johanna Teske. This new information provides evidence to help astronomers better understand the process by which such planets form.

Research reveals more about TRAPPIST-1 planets, and the possibility of life

Mon, 05 Feb 18 00:13:10 -0800

A series of four studies have shed new light on the properties of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, currently our most optimal hope for evidence of biological life beyond the solar system.

TRAPPIST-1 planets probably rich in water

Mon, 05 Feb 18 00:14:10 -0800

A new study has found that planets orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1 are made mostly of rock, and some could hold more water than Earth. The planets' densities suggest that some of them could have up to 5 percent of their mass in the form of water. The hotter planets closest to their parent star are likely to have dense steamy atmospheres and the more distant ones probably have icy surfaces.

Hubble delivers first insight into atmospheres of potentially habitable TRAPPIST-1 planets

Mon, 05 Feb 18 00:13:20 -0800

An international team of astronomers has used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to look for atmospheres around four Earth-sized planets orbiting within or near TRAPPIST-1's habitable zone. The new results further support the terrestrial and potentially habitable nature of three of the studied planets. The results are published in Nature Astronomy.

TRAPPIST-1: Findings show exoplanets made of rock and water

Mon, 05 Feb 18 00:01:00 -0800

In 2016, a team of researchers led by EU-funded astronomer Michael Gillon at the University of Liege, Belgium, discovered three temperate Earth-sized planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1, an ultra-cool dwarf star just 40 light years from Earth. A few months later, Gillon surprised the world with the discovery of a whole planetary system made of a total of seven planets around this star. A set of new studies reveals today the nature and composition of the planets, shedding light on their potential habitability.

OU astrophysicists discover planets in extragalactic galaxies using microlensing

Fri, 02 Feb 18 00:15:20 -0800

A University of Oklahoma astrophysics team has discovered for the first time a population of planets beyond the Milky Way galaxy. Using microlensing--an astronomical phenomenon and the only known method capable of discovering planets at truly great distances from the Earth among other detection techniques--OU researchers were able to detect objects in extragalactic galaxies that range from the mass of the Moon to the mass of Jupiter.

A new 'atmospheric disequilibrium' could help detect life on other planets

Wed, 24 Jan 18 00:12:10 -0800

A new study has found a simple approach to look for life that might be more promising than just looking for oxygen.

A 'hot Jupiter' with unusual winds

Mon, 22 Jan 18 00:00:50 -0800

The hottest point on a gaseous planet near a distant star isn't where astrophysicists expected it to be -- a discovery that challenges scientists' understanding of the many planets of this type found in solar systems outside our own.

Johns Hopkins scientist proposes new limit on the definition of a planet

Mon, 22 Jan 18 00:14:20 -0800

A planet can be no bigger than about 10 times the size of Jupiter, an astrophysicist has calculated.

New research collaboration with UTSA professor challenges existing models of black holes

Fri, 19 Jan 18 00:14:00 -0800

Chris Packham, associate professor of physics and astronomy at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), has collaborated on a new study that expands the scientific community's understanding of black holes in our galaxy and the magnetic fields that surround them.

New technique for finding life on Mars

Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:14:40 -0800

Miniaturized scientific instruments and new microbiology techniques successfully identified and characterized microorganisms living in Arctic permafrost -- one of the closest analogs to Mars on Earth. By avoiding delays that come with having to return samples to a laboratory for analysis, the methodology could also be used on Earth to detect and identify pathogens during epidemics in remote areas.

NASA team studies middle-aged sun by tracking motion of Mercury

Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:06:00 -0800

Like the waistband of a couch potato in midlife, the orbits of planets in our solar system are expanding. It happens because the Sun's gravitational grip gradually weakens as our star ages and loses mass. Now, a team of NASA and MIT scientists has indirectly measured this mass loss and other solar parameters by looking at changes in Mercury's orbit.

Viruses are everywhere, maybe even in space

Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:05:50 -0800

Viruses are the most abundant and one of the least understood biological entities on Earth. They might also exist in space, but as of yet scientists have done almost no research into this possibility. Portland State University biology professor Ken Stedman and colleagues are trying to change this through their article

Organic molecule benzonitrile detected in space

Thu, 11 Jan 18 00:15:10 -0800

Scientists studying a cold molecular cloud of the Taurus region with radio telescopes have detected the presence of a particular organic molecule called benzonitrile. The finding marks the first time a specific aromatic molecule has been identified in space using radio spectroscopy.

Hubble finds substellar objects in the Orion Nebula

Thu, 11 Jan 18 00:16:30 -0800

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered the largest known population of brown dwarfs sprinkled among newborn stars in the Orion Nebula.

No planets needed: NASA study shows disk patterns can self-generate

Thu, 11 Jan 18 00:00:30 -0800

A new NASA study shows rings, arcs and spirals in disks around stars may not be caused by planets. They may self-generate.

ASU astronomers to build space telescope to explore nearby stars

Wed, 10 Jan 18 00:16:20 -0800

A new ASU-led mission will launch a small satellite telescope into space to study the environment in other solar systems around the Galaxy's most common type of star.

Extra-terrestrial Hypatia stone rattles solar system status quo

Tue, 09 Jan 18 00:00:30 -0800

Analyses on a small pebble found in south-west Egypt cast significant questions on a widely-held view about the primitive pre-solar dust cloud which our Sun, Earth and other planets were formed from. Researchers found exotic micro-mineral compounds in the 'Hypatia' stone that are not known to occur on Earth, elsewhere in our solar system, or in known meteorites or comets.

Planets around other stars are like peas in a pod

Tue, 09 Jan 18 00:08:00 -0800

A study of 909 planets and 355 stars carried out at the W.M. Keck Observatory reveals that, unlike our solar system, other planetary systems are distinguished by strict regularity.

NASA's Webb Telescope to investigate mysterious brown dwarfs

Thu, 04 Jan 18 00:15:50 -0800

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are. Astronomers are hopeful that the powerful infrared capability of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will resolve a puzzle as fundamental as stargazing itself -- what IS that dim light in the sky? Brown dwarfs muddy a clear distinction between stars and planets, throwing established understanding of those bodies, and theories of their formation, into question.

Alien megastructure not the cause of dimming of the 'most mysterious star in the universe'

Wed, 03 Jan 18 00:14:20 -0800

Scientists are one step closer to solving the mystery behind the 'most mysterious star in the universe.'

New study finds 'winking' star may be devouring wrecked planets

Thu, 21 Dec 17 00:08:40 -0800

A team of US astronomers studying the star RZ Piscium has found evidence suggesting its strange, unpredictable dimming may be caused by vast orbiting clouds of gas and dust, the remains of one or more destroyed planets.

IU astronomer helps discover that a star in the constellation Pisces is 'eating' planets

Thu, 21 Dec 17 00:09:00 -0800

An Indiana University astronomer and colleagues have discovered that a distant star called RZ Picseum in the constellation Pisces is crushing one or more planets into its orbit into a vast cloud of gas and dust.

Mars' surface water: We finally know what happened--SFU study

Thu, 21 Dec 17 00:09:30 -0800

An international study co-led by SFU researcher Brendan Dyck has revealed that the sun may not have evaporated away all of Mars' surface water after all.

'Winking' star 550 light-years away may be devouring wrecked planets

Thu, 21 Dec 17 00:13:00 -0800

A team of US astronomers studying the star RZ Piscium -- located about 550 light-years away in the constellation Pisces -- has found evidence suggesting its strange, unpredictable dimming episodes may be caused by vast orbiting clouds of gas and dust -- the remains of one or more destroyed planets.

Life on the ice

Wed, 20 Dec 17 00:13:10 -0800

For the first time scientists have directly observed living bacteria in polar ice and snow -- an environment once considered sterile. The new evidence has the potential to alter perceptions about which planets in the universe could sustain life and may mean that humans are having an even greater impact on levels of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere than accepted evidence from climate history studies of ice cores suggests.

Powerful new tool for looking for life beyond Earth

Wed, 20 Dec 17 00:01:30 -0800

NASA has developed an innovative new spectroscopy instrument to aid the search for extraterrestrial life. The new instrument is designed to detect compounds and minerals associated with biological activity more quickly and with greater sensitivity than previous instruments.

Mars: Not as dry as it seems

Wed, 20 Dec 17 00:02:40 -0800

Two new Oxford University papers have shed light on why there is no life on Mars. Although today's Martian surface is barren, frozen and inhabitable, a trail of evidence points to a once warmer, wetter planet, where water flowed freely -- and life may have thrived. The conundrum of what happened to this water is long standing and unsolved. However, new research published in Nature suggests that this water is now locked in the Martian rocks.

A new approach for detecting planets in the Alpha Centauri system

Mon, 18 Dec 17 00:10:50 -0800

Yale astronomers have taken a fresh look at the nearby Alpha Centauri star system and found new ways to narrow the search for habitable planets there. According to a study led by Professor Debra Fischer and graduate student Lily Zhao, there may be small, Earth-like planets in Alpha Centauri that have been overlooked. Meanwhile, the study ruled out the existence of a number of larger planets in the system.

Alien object 'Oumuama was a natural body visiting from another solar system

Mon, 18 Dec 17 00:14:20 -0800

Scientists at Queen's University Belfast have led worldwide investigations into a mysterious object that passed close to Earth after arriving from deep interstellar space.

Orbital mayhem around a red dwarf

Mon, 18 Dec 17 00:13:30 -0800

In the collective imagination, planets of a solar system all circle around their star, in the equatorial plane of the star. The star also spins, and its spin axis is aligned with the spin axes of the planetary orbits, giving the impression of a well-ordered system. But nature is capricious, as an international team led by researchers from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, just found out: they detected a planetary system turned upside down.

NASA solves how a jupiter jet stream shifts into reverse

Mon, 18 Dec 17 00:05:20 -0800

Speeding through the atmosphere high above Jupiter's equator is an east-west jet stream that reverses course on a schedule almost as predictable as a Tokyo train's. Now, a NASA-led team has identified which type of wave forces this jet to change direction.

A better way to weigh millions of solitary stars

Thu, 14 Dec 17 00:07:40 -0800

Astronomers have come up with a new and improved method for measuring the masses of millions of solitary stars, especially those with planetary systems.