201–220 of 338 results


Two Exocomet Populations Around Beta Pictoris

The comets in the infant planetary system around the star Beta Pictoris fall into two distinct families, with one reminiscent of the solar system’s Kreutz sungrazers.


Do Exoplanets Transform Between Classes?

A new analysis suggests that hot super-Earths might be the skeletal remnants of hot Jupiters stripped of their atmospheres.

habitable zone of GJ 581


The Planet That is No More

A new analysis confirms that an exoplanet thought to orbit in the habitable zone of the star Gliese 581 actually doesn’t exist.


Titan Sheds Light on Alien Atmospheres

Saturn’s largest moon Titan played a cameo as an exoplanet, allowing astronomers to better understand how a thick layer of haze or clouds might affect their observations of more distant alien worlds.


Exoplanet Portraits: A Tale of New Instruments

Exoplanet missions are shifting their goals from counting to characterizing, with multiple instruments coming online to directly image these alien worlds.


Two Ancient Exoplanets Discovered

Kapteyn’s star — a nearby star that likely formed outside this galaxy — hosts two planets more than twice as old as Earth.


Three Exoplanet Molds: Metals Matter

Data from NASA's Kepler space telescope point to three distinct molds of exoplanets — rocky worlds, gas dwarfs, and ice/gas giants — distinguishable based on the abundances of heavy elements in their host star’s atmosphere.

Professional Telescopes

Hidden Treasures in Hubble Images

A new processing technique has revealed once-invisible planetary disks encircling five stars imaged in Hubble’s archive.


Exoplanet Out for a Quick Spin

Astronomers have used a new technique to measure — for the first time — the spin of an extrasolar planet.


Planets’ Wacky Orbits Solved

By combining nearly 1,500 observations with sophisticated computer models, astronomers have shed light on a nearby planetary system, proving that the planets' bizarre orbits will actually remain stable for the next 100 million years.


Most “Earth-Like” Planet Found Yet

The newly discovered planet, Kepler-186f, is the first Earth-size exoplanet circling in its star’s habitable zone. The media worldwide is gleaming with fantastical headlines, but readers in the know may have an inkling the result is less than it seems.


Hot Jupiters Keep Their Stars Young

Sizzling gas giants circling close to their host stars — so-called hot Jupiters — keep their host stars young and active, a new study suggests.


Fooling with the Universe

This year’s April Fools' provides a wealth of alarming results. Catch up on all the scientific shenanigans here.


Planets Form With Magnetic Storms

Astronomers might have solved an outstanding mystery of why forming planetary systems emit more infrared light than expected. The key lies with gas and dust suspended in giant magnetic loops.


A Chaotic Planet-Forming Disk

A new map of Beta Pictoris reveals an asymmetric clump of carbon monoxide likely produced in cometary collisions. It provides a rare glimpse at the chaotic birth of a planetary system.


Kepler's Planets by the Hundreds

Old data from NASA’s crippled Kepler space telescope has yielded a new windfall of confirmed exoplanets, nearly doubling the number tallied since 1992.

Stellar Science

Red Sky for Brown Dwarf

Astronomers have discovered a new “failed star” with unusually red, dusty skies. The dust makes the object look much younger than it actually is, complicating studies of this type of brown dwarf.


Shedding Light on Circumbinary Systems

Astronomers are beginning to understand the unlikely formation and dangerous survival of exoplanets circling binary stars.


Weather-Mapping a Brown Dwarf

Astronomers using a novel technique have mapped a brown dwarf's visible surface — even though they can't resolve the object in telescopes.

Cloudy Super-Earth


Weather on Alien Worlds

From high-altitude clouds discovered on a super-Earth to massive, hurricane-force storms on a nearby brown dwarf, a bevy of results show that the age of “astrometeorology” is upon us.