What makes a planet habitable

Artist's impression shows a view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System.

Which of Earth's features were essential for the origin and sustenance of life? And how do scientists identify those features on other worlds?A team of investigators with array of expertise ranging from geochemistry to planetary science to astronomy published this week an essay in Science urging the research community to

Orbital Forensics Hint at Sun’s Long-Lost Planet

Our solar system might have once ejected a giant planet that now wanders among the stars, much like the lonely world illustrated here.

Our solar system is like a 4.6-billion-year-old crime scene.Crater-ridden surfaces, misaligned planetary orbits and streams of interplanetary debris are the cosmic equivalents of blood spatters on the wall and skid marks from a getaway car. These and other clues tell of a chaotic beginning for our planetary family.Buried in those

Trio of infant planets discovered around newborn star

Two independent teams of astronomers have uncovered convincing evidence that three young planets are in orbit around an infant star known as HD 163296. Using a new planet-finding strategy, the astronomers identified three discrete disturbances in a young star’s gas-filled disk: the strongest evidence yet that newly formed planets are

Devourer of planets? Researchers dub star ‘Kronos’

Kronos

In mythology, the Titan Kronos devoured his children, including Poseidon (better known as the planet Neptune), Hades (Pluto) and three daughters.So when a group of Princeton astronomers discovered twin stars, one of which showed signs of having ingested a dozen or more rocky planets, they named them after Kronos and

Twilight observations reveal huge storm on Neptune

Neptune

Spectacular sunsets and sunrises are enough to dazzle most of us, but to astronomers, dusk and dawn are a waste of good observing time. They want a truly dark sky.Not Ned Molter, a UC Berkeley astronomy graduate student. He set out to show that some bright objects can be studied

Mysterious ‘orphan’ planets found roaming through space

orphan

The rocky worlds are believed to move through galaxies and could host life in deep hydrothermal vents, according to new research Earth sized planets that could harbour life roam the darkness of space - between the stars, according to new research.The wandering worlds - known as 'free floating' or 'orphan' planets

Top