Nearby “Lensing” Exoplanet Confirmed

This artist's impression shows one of the three newly discovered planets

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.

Astronomers Find Water on an Exoplanet Twice the Size of Earth

An artist’s impression of the planet K2-18 b, its red dwarf host star, and another accompanying planet in the system.

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 low density of some exoplanets is confirmed

An artist's depiction of the stellar system Kepler-9 and two of its planets. Astronomers have confirmed the very low densities of two of Kepler-9's planets using both transit-timing and radial velocity methods. Credit: NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, Ames Research Center

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

Life May Be Evolving on the Closest Alien Planet to Earth

Life May Be Evolving on the Closest Alien Planet to Earth

A few decades ago, we didn’t know if there were any planets outside our solar system. Thanks to advances in astronomy like Hubble and the Kepler Telescope, we now know there are uncountable planets in the universe, including at least one in the solar system next door. Researchers from Cornell

In Search of Missing Worlds, Hubble Finds a Fast Evaporating Exoplanet

This artist’s illustration shows a giant cloud of hydrogen streaming off a warm, Neptune-sized planet just 97 light-years from Earth.

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

Helium exoplanet inflated like a balloon, research shows

HAT-P-11b exoplanet

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

Scientist develops database for stellar-exoplanet ‘exploration’

stellar 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