Related topics: stars · planets

Young gas giants fly close to their suns

Hot Jupiters, giant Jupiter-like exoplanets that orbit 20 times closer to their host stars than the Earth does to the Sun, can form and migrate towards their infant stars in as little as a few million years, researchers at ...

Interstellar seeds could create oases of life

We only have one example of a planet with life: Earth. But within the next generation, it should become possible to detect signs of life on planets orbiting distant stars. If we find alien life, new questions will arise. ...

Star formation near supermassive black holes

Most if not all galaxies are thought to host a supermassive black hole in their nuclei, a finding that is both one the most important and amazing in modern astronomy. A supermassive black hole grows by accreting mass, and ...

What are extrasolar planets?

For countless generations, human beings have looked out at the night sky and wondered if they were alone in the universe. With the discovery of other planets in our solar system, the true extent of the Milky Way galaxy, and ...

New exoplanet too big for its stars

The Australian discovery of a strange exoplanet orbiting a small cool star 500 light years away is challenging ideas about how planets form.

20 ExoWorlds are now available for naming proposals

Although people have been naming celestial objects for millennia, the IAU has the task of assigning scientifically recognised names to newly discovered celestial bodies by its member countries. The NameExoWorlds contest provides ...

First exoplanet visible light spectrum

Astronomers using the HARPS planet-hunting machine at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile have made the first-ever direct detection of the spectrum of visible light reflected off an exoplanet. These observations also revealed ...

Giant galaxies die from the inside out

A major astrophysical mystery has centred on how massive, quiescent elliptical galaxies, common in the modern Universe, quenched their once furious rates of star formation. Such colossal galaxies, often also called spheroids ...

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