Researchers using telescopes around the world confirmed and characterized an exoplanet orbiting a nearby star through a rare phenomenon known as gravitational microlensing. The exoplanet has a mass similar to Neptune, but it orbits a star lighter (cooler) than the Sun at an orbital radius similar to Earth’s orbital radius.
Twenty years ago, almost to the day, two competing teams of astronomers independently discovered the first known transiting exoplanet—a world that, viewed from Earth, passed across the face of its star, casting a shadow toward watchful telescopes here. Two decades later, transits have become the lifeblood of exoplanet studies, yielding
The Kepler mission and its extension, called K2, discovered thousands of exoplanets. It detected them using the transit technique, measuring the dip in light intensity whenever an orbiting planet moved across the face of its host star as viewed from Earth.Transits can not only measure the orbital period, they often
An exoplanet smaller than Neptune with its own atmosphere has been discovered in the Neptunian Desert, by an international collaboration of astronomers, with the University of Warwick taking a leading role.New research, led by Dr. Richard West including Professor Peter Wheatley, Dr. Daniel Bayliss and Dr. James McCormac from the
Fishermen would be puzzled if they netted only big and little fish, but few medium-sized fish. Astronomers likewise have been perplexed in conducting a census of star-hugging extrasolar planets. They have found hot Jupiter-sized planets and hot super-Earths (planets no more than 1.5 times Earth’s diameter). These planets are scorching
Astronomers have discovered a distant planet with an abundance of helium in its atmosphere, which has swollen to resemble an inflated balloon.An international team of researchers, including Jessica Spake and Dr David Sing from the University of Exeter, have detected the inert gas escaping from the atmosphere of the exoplanet
A Southwest Research Institute scientist is using big data to help the scientific community characterize exoplanets, particularly alien worlds orbiting nearby stars. Of particular interest are exoplanets that could harbor life."At first scientists focused on temperatures, looking for exoplanets in the 'Goldilocks zone'—neither too close, nor too far from the