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Latest Exoplanetology Stories

Spitzer Hunting For Exoplanets
2013-09-25 10:38:33

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online After 10 years of orbiting the sun, the Spitzer Space Telescope is now playing a completely different role than it was a decade ago – hunting for exoplanets outside the solar system. "When Spitzer launched back in 2003, the idea that we would use it to study exoplanets was so crazy that no one considered it," said Sean Carey of NASA's Spitzer Science Center  in a statement. "But now the exoplanet science work has become a...

Scientists May Soon Have New Tools To Answer The 'Are We Alone' Question
2013-09-12 15:23:08

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Scientists are working on new tools to help detect whether or not life exists on planets far away from our Solar System. Life on Earth is able to send off signals into the atmosphere, such as microbes emitting methane and nitrous oxide. When these chemicals are present in sufficient quantities they become indicators of life and are known as atmospheric biomarkers. Detecting them in the atmosphere of exoplanets could indicate whether or...

Exoplanet With Water-Rich Atmosphere
2013-09-06 07:43:41

John P. Millis, PhD for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online The search for a habitable planet beyond Earth is on. Scientists have been searching the heavens to find an exoplanet that is just the right distance from its host star to support liquid water, all the while targeting a surface gravity we would be familiar with and an atmosphere oozing with oxygen. Such a planet has not yet been found, but progress has been made, and we continue to find smaller and smaller planets closer to the...

Amateur Astronomers Could Be NASA's New Hope For Planet Hunting
2013-09-05 14:16:35

[ Watch the Video: Help NASA Hunt For Exoplanets ] Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online NASA's Open Source Differential Photometry Code for Amateur Astronomy Research (OSCAAR) program will allow amateur astronomers to find exoplanets. The US space agency is calling out all amateur astronomers who are seeking to find world's beyond our Solar System. People wanting to get involved who have a telescope will be able to pick up where Kepler left off after a malfunction left...

Fluffy Disk Baby Star
2013-08-27 09:17:10

John P. Millis, PhD for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Astronomers from the Strategic Exploration of Exoplanets and Disks with Subaru Telescope (SEEDS) project, an effort to search out other worlds, has turned its attention to a somewhat unusual source. Using the Subaru Telescope’s High Contrast Instrument for the Subaru Next Generation Adaptive Optics (HiCIAO), scientists were interested in a young star known as Ry Tau (Tauri) located some 460 light-years from Earth. Around this...

Measuring Stellar Gravity
2013-08-23 08:58:22

[ Watch The Video: Star Flickering Discovery ] John P. Millis, PhD for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online A star’s gravitational strength is key in understanding and modeling other properties of a particular star, to say nothing of understanding the planets that orbit around it. But making accurate measurements of a star’s surface gravity is difficult, and measurements are often only good to within about a 50% estimation of the actual value, sometimes worse. Now, however,...

Not All Rogue Planets Are Born Within Solar Systems
2013-08-20 11:30:55

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online A team of astronomers say free-floating planets can be born freely, outside of an existing solar system. Previously, scientists believed free-floating planets, or "rogue planets," must have been ejected from existing planetary systems. However, telescopes at Chalmers University of Technology have helped astronomers discover not all of these rogue planets were created this way, but that some were born free. Scientists believe there...

Exoplanet Discovered That Makes Full Orbit In Under Nine Hours
2013-08-19 09:55:32

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Scientists from MIT have discovered an exoplanet 700 light-years away that fully orbits its host star every 8.5 hours. The scientists wrote in The Astrophysical Journal the earth-sized planet, Kepler 78b, has one of the shortest orbital periods ever detected. They have estimated its surface temperatures may reach more than 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit due to its extremely close orbital position. Kepler 78b is so close to its star the...

Unexpected And Exotic Characteristics Of Hot Jupiters
2013-08-19 04:42:11

[ Watch the Video: The Strange Attraction of Hot Jupiters ] redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online The number of exoplanets discovered by astronomers since the beginning of the Space Age some five decades ago suggests there are possibly over 100 billion such worlds outside our solar system, according to one Caltech astronomer involved with NASA’s Kepler mission. According to John Johnson, an assistant professor of astronomy at the Pasadena-based university, over...

Kepler Mission Cannot Be Restored
2013-08-16 04:33:17

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online After spending several months attempting to restore the Kepler Space Telescope to full working order, NASA announced on Thursday it was throwing in the towel – though the observatory could continue to function in a somewhat limited capacity. According to the US space agency, two of Kepler’s four gyroscope-like reaction wheels have failed – one in July 2012 and the other in May. Those wheels are used to precisely direct the...


Latest Exoplanetology Reference Libraries

Planetary Astronomy
2014-01-12 00:00:00

Image Caption: Artistic concept of a planetary system. Credit: Wikipedia/NASA/JPL-Caltech The term Astronomy encompasses a broad range of topics, including the study of stars, galaxies, and planets. In order to focus on the different areas of study, many subfields of astronomy emerge. One such area is the study of planets known, appropriately, as Planetary Astronomy. Observational Planetary Astronomy Even within the field of Planetary Astronomy, there are several divisions to...

7_a23a0395183f2368aec4b62e1b9470672
2004-10-19 04:45:43

Terrestrial Planet Finder -- The Terrestrial Planet Finder is a proposed NASA telescope system capable of detecting extrasolar terrestrial planets. In May 2002, NASA chose two TPF mission architecture concepts for further study and technology development. Each would use a different means to achieve the same goal - to block the light from a parent star in order to see its much smaller, dimmer planets. That technology challenge has been likened to finding a firefly near the beam of...

6_f3ae28666ea2fe9e06e16221eea19d522
2004-10-19 04:45:41

Extrasolar Planet -- An extrasolar planet is a planet orbiting around a star other than the Sun. Extrasolar planets were first discovered in the 1990s as a result of improved telescope technology, CCD and computer-based image processing which allowed far more accurate measurements of stellar motions. The first extrasolar planets were reported by the astronomer Aleksander Wolszczan in 1993, orbiting the pulsar PSR 1257+12. Subsequent investigation has determined that they are only planets...

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Word of the Day
malpais
  • The ragged surface of a lava-flow.
'Malpais' translates from Spanish as 'bad land.'