Hubble sees evaporating planet getting the hiccups

Life around an ill-tempered red dwarf star is no fun for accompanying newborn planets. Call it a baptism of fire. Entangled magnetic fields cause a red dwarf to spit out "super-flares" that are 100 to 1,000 times more powerful ...

Watching the watchers with Nancy Grace Roman

Astronomers are getting better at gathering data about exoplanets. We have discovered thousands of them, measuring their mass, size, and orbital parameters, and we are starting to measure other aspects such as their temperature ...

Bizarre exoplanet breaks all the orbital rules

In our solar system, the planetary orbits all have a similar orientation. Their orbital planes vary by a few degrees, but roughly the planets all orbit in the same direction. This invariable plane as it's known also has an ...

Even if there's life on TRAPPIST-1, we probably can't detect it

If we ever find life on other worlds, it is unlikely to be a powerful message from space. It's certainly possible that an alien civilization specifically sends us a radio message like a scene out of Contact, but the more ...

A new mission will search for habitable planets at Alpha Centauri

Alpha Centauri is our closest stellar neighbor, a binary star system located just 4.376 light-years away. Despite its proximity, repeated astronomical surveys have failed to find hard evidence of extrasolar planets in this ...

Mercury's black disk helps sharpen Solar Orbiter's view

This year started with a nice imaging opportunity for Solar Orbiter, and a chance to further improve the quality of its data. On January 3, 2023, inner planet Mercury crossed the spacecraft's field of view, resulting in a ...

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