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Latest New Worlds Mission Stories

New Technique Measuring Exoplanet Mass
2013-12-19 15:52:43

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online A new technique developed by a team at MIT could help scientists determine the mass of exoplanets, using just their transmission spectra. Scientists have discovered more than 900 exoplanets outside our solar system so far, and more are being found every week. Hunting for exoplanets takes a combination of patience, the right equipment and technique. Space telescopes help keep watch for dimming starlight, indicating that an exoplanet...

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's Atmosphere Unveiled Through New Observing Technique
2012-06-27 13:04:31

[ Video 1 ] | [ Video 2 ] Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com Astronomers have uncovered a clever new way of studying the atmosphere of an exoplanet in more detail. An international team of astronomers used the European Space Observatory's Very Large Telescope to see the faint glow from the planet Tau Boötis b. For the first time, the team reported that it has been able to study the planet's atmosphere, and was able to measure its orbit and mass precisely. They wrote in...

Image 1 - Exoplanet-Consuming White Dwarf Stars Discovered
2012-05-03 10:19:16

Astrophysicists at a UK university have found a quartet of white dwarf stars which they say are in the process of consuming exoplanets that were once similar in composition to Earth. According to a Thursday press release, researchers from the University of Warwick said that the four stars which they observed were surrounded by dust from shattered planetary bodies. They used the Hubble Space Telescope to survey the chemical composition of those stars' atmospheres, and discovered that the...

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2010-01-14 09:15:57

By studying a triple planetary system that resembles a scaled-up version of our own Sun's family of planets, astronomers have been able to obtain the first direct spectrum "” the "chemical fingerprint" [1] "” of a planet orbiting a distant star [2], thus bringing new insights into the planet's formation and composition. The result represents a milestone in the search for life elsewhere in the Universe. "The spectrum of a planet is like a fingerprint. It provides key information...

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2008-05-29 13:03:43

ESA is launching a new initiative to develop a roadmap for finding Earth-like planets. Searching for rocky planets around other stars, in the hopes of finding an Earth-like world, is a top scientific goal in ESA's Cosmic Vision programme. Achieving this ambition requires a great deal of technological development, and a constant eye on the changes taking place across this fast-moving field of research. To provide an overview of the field and a set of technological milestones that must be...

2008-04-03 16:54:49

Astronomers have struggled for centuries to find our solar system's planets, let alone any outside of our relatively puny cosmic neighborhood. Yet during only the past 13 years, observers have tracked down nearly 300 distant bodies beyond our system thanks to rapid advances in ground-based telescope technology and methods. Ten worlds alone were identified by a group of astronomers in the past six months using earthbound instruments, and another team of scientists just announced...

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2007-04-11 16:23:03

For the first time ever, NASA researchers have successfully demonstrated in the laboratory that a space telescope rigged with special masks and mirrors could snap a photo of an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star. This accomplishment marks a dramatic step forward for missions like the proposed Terrestrial Planet Finder, designed to hunt for an Earth twin that might harbor life. Trying to image an exoplanet - a planet orbiting a star other than the sun - is a daunting task, because its...

2006-07-06 07:23:36

LONDON (Reuters) - A huge daisy-shaped shield that would block out light from parent stars could be used to find Earth-like planets in other solar systems, an American astronomer said on Wednesday. He and his team have designed a plastic "starshade" measuring 50 yards in diameter that would orbit in tandem with a trailing telescope and block out light from parent stars to enable scientists to map planetary systems. Finding other planets is very difficult because their parent stars...


Word of the Day
negawatt
  • A unit of saved energy.
Coined by Amory Lovins, chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute as a contraction of negative watt on the model of similar compounds like megawatt.