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Another Direct Exoplanet Image

A tiny, glowing dot apparently orbits just inside the inner edge of the dusty debris disk surrounding the star Beta Pictoris, 64 light-years away.


First True Exoplanet Images…Probably

Although questions remain, it appears that astronomers have at last taken images of actual planets orbiting other stars.


Exoplanet Search Strategies

What will be the best ways to discover extrasolar planets in the coming years? The best scientific payoffs demand smart planning now.


Our "Goldilocks" Solar System

Think our planetary family is normal? Think again. It turns out that the Sun and its retinue formed when the interstellar mix was just right — not too much gas, not too little, and stirred gently for just the right amount of time.


Are Jupiters Hard to Come By?

A recent survey of stars in the Orion Nebula Cluster reveals that less than 10% of stars there have enough material in their surrounding disks to form Jupiter-sized planets.


Signs Found of Many “Super-Earths”

Jupiter-like exoplanets are outnumbered by smaller planets three to one, say astronomers describing their cutting-edge work in progress.


A Raft of New Planets in Silhouette

The SuperWASP project finds 10 new extrasolar planets crossing the faces of their stars.


Dust in a Hot Jupiter's Atmosphere

Precise measures by Hubble indicate that a roasting "hot Jupiter" close to its star has an atmosphere thick with dust.


A Star with Five Planets

The Sun-like star 55 Cancri, just 41 light-years away, is now known to have at least five planets orbiting it.

Pro-Am Collaboration

Amateurs Spot Transiting Exoplanet

Using modest gear and a lot of skill, amateur astronomers catch a record-breaking planet crossing the face of its star 250 light-years away.


The Most Puffed-Up Planet

Astronomers have discovered possibly the biggest exoplanet yet. TrES-4 is about 70% wider than Jupiter and has the average density of balsa wood.


Why So Lopsided?

A star 150 light-years away is surrounded by a disk of debris that might indicate that hidden planets are throwing their weight around.

microlensing diagram


Why are there two peaks in the light curve on page 97 of the October 2005 issue?

Why are there two peaks in the light curve on page 97 of the October 2005 issue? One might imagine that a planet of the star would produce only one sharp peak on the rounded dashed line. But why two? This is an insightful question, because astronomers who use the…

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