Construction of Europe's exoplanet hunter PLATO begins

The construction of ESA's PLATO mission to find and study planets beyond our solar system will be led by Germany's OHB System AG as prime contractor, marking the start of the full industrial phase of the project.

Iron-rich stars host shorter-period planets

Astronomers with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) have learned that the chemical composition of a star can exert unexpected influence on its planetary system—a discovery made possible by an ongoing SDSS survey of stars ...

Resolving the planetesimal belt around HR8799

Planets develop from the dusty placental disk of material that surrounds a star after it begins to shine. The dust in that disk, according to most models, starts to stick to itself until clumps develop large enough to attract ...

Astronomers identify signature of Earth-eating stars

( —Some Sun-like stars are 'Earth-eaters.' During their development they ingest large amounts of the rocky material from which 'terrestrial' planets like Earth, Mars and Venus are made.

Nearing one thousand exoplanets

A quiet milestone in modern astronomy may soon come to pass. As of today, The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia lists a current tally of 998 extrasolar planets across 759 planetary systems. And although various tabulations ...

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