Exoplanets TOP STORY

Young Binary Star System May Form planets With Weird Orbits

© NRAO

Binary star system HK Tau

Unlike our solitary Sun, most stars form in binary pairs -- two stars that orbit a common center of mass. Though remarkably plentiful, binaries pose a number of questions, including how and where planets form in such complex environments.


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Exoplanets

The Hubble Space Telescope Finds Three Surprisingly Dry Exoplanets

© NASA

Artistic illustration of the gas giant planet HD 209458b.

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have gone looking for water vapor in the atmospheres of three planets orbiting stars similar to the sun -- and have come up nearly dry.

Exoplanets

Researchers Discover Transiting Exoplanet with Longest Known Year

Researchers Discover Transiting Exoplanet with Longest Known Year

Astronomers have discovered a transiting exoplanet with the longest known year. Kepler-421b circles its star once every 704 days.


Exoplanets

New Technique Used for Sun-like Stars Reveal Their Ages

New Technique Used for Sun-like Stars Reveal Their Ages

Defining what makes a star "Sun-like" is as difficult as defining what makes a planet "Earth-like." A solar twin should have a temperature, mass, and spectral type similar to our Sun.


Exoplanets

Possible Exomoon Found

Possible Exomoon Found

Titan, Europa, Io and Phobos are just a few members of our solar system's pantheon of moons. Are there are other moons out there, orbiting planets beyond our sun?


Exoplanets

Studying Other Worlds with the Help of a Starshade

Studying Other Worlds with the Help of a Starshade Video in Story

This animation shows the prototype starshade, a giant structure designed to block the glare of stars so that future space telescopes can take pictures of planets.


Exoplanets

Death Stars in Orion Blast Planets Before They Even Form

Death Stars in Orion Blast Planets Before They Even Form

The Orion Nebula is home to hundreds of young stars and even younger protostars known as proplyds.


Exoplanets

Nearby Star's Icy Debris Suggests 'Shepherd' Planet

Nearby Star's Icy Debris Suggests 'Shepherd' Planet Video in Story

An international team of astronomers exploring the disk of gas and dust around a nearby star have uncovered a compact cloud of poisonous gas formed by ongoing rapid-fire collisions among a swarm of icy, comet-like bodies.


Exoplanets

Kepler Finds a Very Wobbly Planet

Kepler Finds a Very Wobbly Planet

Imagine living on a planet with seasons so erratic you would hardly know whether to wear Bermuda shorts or a heavy overcoat.


Exoplanets

Hubble Hangout: Disk Detective - Finding the Birthplace of Planets

Hubble Hangout: Disk Detective - Finding the Birthplace of Planets Video in Story

Scientists are combing the galaxy looking for stars that could be harboring planet-forming disks. They need your help to explain this puzzling part of stellar evolution.


Exoplanets

Rare Brown Dwarf Discovery Provides Benchmark for Exoplanet Research

Rare Brown Dwarf Discovery Provides Benchmark for Exoplanet Research

A team of researchers has directly imaged a very rare type of brown dwarf that can serve as a benchmark for studying objects with masses that lie between stars and planets.


Exoplanets

New Kind of Planet or a Failed Star?

New Kind of Planet or a Failed Star?

An object discovered by astrophysicists at the University of Toronto nearly 500 light years away from the Sun may challenge traditional understandings about how planets and stars form.


Exoplanets

Newfound Planet Is Earth-mass But Gassy

Newfound Planet Is Earth-mass But Gassy

An international team of astronomers has discovered the first Earth-mass planet that transits, or crosses in front of, its host star. KOI-314c is the lightest planet to have both its mass and physical size measured.


Exoplanets

Hubble Reveals Cloudy Weather on Extrasolar Planet

Hubble Reveals Cloudy Weather on Extrasolar Planet

Weather forecasters on exoplanet GJ 1214b would have an easy job. Today's forecast: cloudy. Tomorrow: overcast. Extended outlook: more clouds.


Exoplanets

Are Comets the Key to Curious Fomalhaut Exoplanet System?

Are Comets the Key to Curious Fomalhaut Exoplanet System?

The nearby star Fomalhaut A hosts the most famous planetary system outside our own solar system, containing both an exoplanet and a spectacular ring of comets.


Exoplanets

Sub-Earth-Mass Moon Orbiting a Gas Giant Primary or a High Velocity Planetary System in the Galactic Bulge

Sub-Earth-Mass Moon Orbiting a Gas Giant Primary or a High Velocity Planetary System in the Galactic Bulge

We present the first microlensing candidate for a free-floating exoplanet-exomoon system, MOA-2011-BLG-262, with a primary lens mass of M_host ~ 4 Jupiter masses hosting a sub-Earth mass moon.



More top stories from February.