Distant 'heavy metal' gas planet is shaped like a football

The scorching hot exoplanet WASP-121b may not be shredding any heavy metal guitar riffs, but it is sending heavy metals such as iron and magnesium into space. The distant planet's atmosphere is so hot that metal is vaporizing ...

NASA's TESS mission finds its smallest planet yet

NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered a world between the sizes of Mars and Earth orbiting a bright, cool, nearby star. The planet, called L 98-59b, marks the tiniest discovered by TESS to date.

Astronomers see 'warm' glow of Uranus' rings

The rings of Uranus are invisible to all but the largest telescopes—they weren't even discovered until 1977—but they're surprisingly bright in new heat images of the planet taken by two large telescopes in the high deserts ...

Gemini Planet Imager analyzes 300 stars

Over the past four years, an instrument attached to a telescope in the Chilean Andes—known as the Gemini Planet Imager—has set its gaze on 531 stars in search of new planets. The team, led by Stanford University, is now ...

Optimizing operations for an unprecedented view of the universe

Under construction on a remote ridge in the Chilean Andes, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will boast the world's largest digital camera, helping researchers detect objects at the solar system's edge and gain insights ...

Neptune's moon Triton fosters rare icy union

Astronomers using the Gemini Observatory explore Neptune's largest moon Triton and observe, for the first time beyond the lab, an extraordinary union between carbon monoxide and nitrogen ices. The discovery offers insights ...

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