New method of finding planets scores its first discovery
(Phys.org) —Detecting alien worlds presents a significant challenge since they are small, faint, and close to their stars. The two most prolific techniques for finding exoplanets are radial velocity (looking ...
First transiting planets in a star cluster discovered
(Phys.org) —All stars begin their lives in groups. Most stars, including our Sun, are born in small, benign groups that quickly fall apart. Others form in huge, dense swarms that survive for billions of ...
Search for life suggests solar systems more habitable than ours
(Phys.org)—Scattered around the Milky Way are stars that resemble our own sun—but a new study is finding that any planets orbiting those stars may very well be hotter and more dynamic than Earth.
Red dwarf stars might be best places to discover alien life
Red dwarfs are the most common type of star in the universe, and nearly every one of these stars may have a planet located in its habitable zone where life has the best chance of existing, a new study concludes.
Astrophysicists prepare weather forecasts for planets beyond our solar system
"Cloudy for the morning, turning to clear with scorching heat in the afternoon."
Intelligent life in the universe? Phone home, dammit!
We've been conditioned by television and movies to accept the likelihood of intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe. "Of course there's intelligent life out there; I saw it last week on Star Trek." We've ...
Seeing the Closest Aliens Will Take Centuries
As telescopes become more advanced, we’ll be able to see more details about planets orbiting other stars - including indications that those planets have life. However, it would probably take many centuries ...
Scattered light could reveal alien atmospheres
The light scattered off distant worlds could help reveal details about their atmospheres that no other method could uncover, scientists find.
At last, how many alien civilizations are there?
During the space age, 1961 was a special year: the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit Earth, while the American astronomer Frank Drake developed the now famous Drake Equation. This ...
Mars was Wet, but was it Warm?
Mars is frozen today, but when it was young there may have been liquid water on its surface. What does the latest evidence indicate about the ancient martian climate? Understanding the past environment of ...
The Drake Equation revisited: An interview with Sara Seager
Planet hunters keep finding distant worlds that bear a resemblance to Earth. Some of the thousands of exoplanet candidates discovered to date have similar sizes or temperatures. Others possess rocky surfaces ...
Getting to know the Goldilocks planet
NASA's Kepler spacecraft is discovering a veritable avalanche of alien worlds. Recent finds include planets with double suns, massive "super-Earths" and "hot Jupiters," and a miniature solar system. ...
Tidal forces could squeeze out planetary water
Alien planets might experience tidal forces powerful enough to remove all their water, leaving behind hot, dry worlds like Venus, researchers said.
Potential survival of extreme life forms on eccentric exoplanets
(Phys.org)—Astronomers have discovered a veritable rogues' gallery of odd exoplanets—from scorching hot worlds with molten surfaces to frigid ice balls.