comScore

Exoplanets

  1. Space

    This Afternoon NASA Announced the Existence of 715 New Exoplanets

    In what io9 is describing as the "single largest windfall of new confirmations at any one time," Kepler scientists announced at a teleconference today that they have confirmed the existence of a whopping 715 new exoplanets, but hey, no big deal. All in a day's work.

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  2. Science

    One Year on This Tiny Exoplanet Lasts Just Eight and a Half Hours

    It's been a little more than a year since I started here at Geekosystem, and man, has it gone fast. Nowhere near as fast as a year passes on the tiny, molten exoplanet Kepler 78B, though. The planet, discovered by researchers at MIT and elsewhere, completes a breakneck orbit of its home star in just eight and a half hours.

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  3. Space

    NASA Abandons Plans to Fully Repair Kepler, Hopes For New Mission

    NASA's Kepler spacecraft used to survey space to find potentially habitable exoplanets, but that was in the before time, in the long long ago. When one of its reaction wheels failed back in May the craft could no longer operate as intended, and now NASA is giving up on trying to get it back into full working order.

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  4. Space

    Nearby Star Hosts Three Super-Earths in Habitable Zone

    An international team of researchers and astronomers  have found what could be the motherlode of habitable exoplanets in a nearby star system. According to a new examination of the data, researchers believe the nearby star Gliese 667C -- found just 22 light years away in the constellation Scorpius -- hosts six planets. That's twice as many bodies as the star was thought to be home to, but that's not the big news. The big news is that three of the planets orbiting Gliese 667C are thought to be in the habitable zone, capable of hosting liquid water, and possibly able to support life.

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  5. Space

    The IAU Isn’t Pleased With Uwingu’s Exoplanet Contest

    As you might recall, Uwingu is holding a contest to name an exoplanet. People love naming stuff in space, but it has rarely been in the hands of the people to decide. It's typically left to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to assign designations. It's pretty much their job. They're not too keen on Uwingu taking money from folks in order to give a name to an exoplanet that won't be officially recognized as such, and they've said as much in a recent statement.

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  6. Space

    New NASA Planet Hunter TESS Searches Entire Sky, Puts Kepler To Shame

    We've already spotted more than 800 exoplanets beyond our Solar System, and more than a hundred of these were identified by NASA's Kepler mission in the four years since its launch merely by observing one small swath of sky. But now NASA has its sights on even more worlds with the newly green-lit Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a spacecraft set to launch in 2017. Hit the jump to find out what makes this one so different.

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  7. Space

    Is This the First Picture of IRL Tatooine?

    A team of astronomers in France believe they have captured the first direct image of a distant planet that orbits a pair of binary stars. It's probably not a lot like Luke's home planet of Tatooine, though, as the enormous object is a gaseous body more than 10 times the size of Jupiter, and leaving the scientists who captured the image still trying to figure out whether it's a huge planet or a tiny star.

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  8. Space

    If You’d Like to Name an Exoplanet, Now’s Your Chance

    We're living in a time when geeks are milling about the foreground of society, unchaperoned -- where we get to exert our fanaticism in various directions. For example, it used to be that newly discovered astronomical bodies were given dry or alphanumeric names, but not anymore! Recently, non-scientist dorks are allowed -- if unofficially -- to name far-flung celestial objects. Just ask Pluto. Today, Uwingu is sending out a call out to name the most recently discovered exoplanet, and you can pay to enter the contest.

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  9. Space

    Small World: NASA Kepler Mission Finds Smallest Exoplanet Yet

    What can we say, folks -- some days, all the cool news comes from space, and this is one of those days. On a day that has already brought us revelations about nearby stars and details of the latest mission to Mars, NASA's Kepler mission to seek out habitable exoplanets announced that it has turned up it's smallest find yet -- Kepler-37b, a teeny, tiny exoplanet about 210 light years away that is just a little bit larger than our own Moon.

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  10. Space

    New Definition Boots Earth Out Of ‘Goldilocks Zone’ for Habitable Planets

    As researchers sift through reams of data looking for the telltale signs of planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy, special attention is paid to planets in the so-called 'Goldilocks Zone' that could conceivably support life. In the interest of improving and honing the search for Earth-like planets, a team of astronomers led by Penn State University has proposed some changes to the 'Goldilocks Zone' that they think paint a better picture of where life-sustaining planets would orbit in relation to their stars. There's just one problem -- that new definition kicks the Earth's orbit nearly out of the new 'Goldilocks Zone,' meaning that we are all going to have to move to a planet that could support life, as this one clearly can't. Get packing, everyone.

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  11. Space

    New Potentially Habitable Exoplanet Discovered in (Relatively Speaking) Nearby Tau Ceti System

    Astronomers have discovered five new planets orbiting the nearby star Tau Ceti, and there's even better news -- one of them could potentially support life one day. While there are a couple things to be excited for, that's a big "potentially." What's more, it's not  as if "nearby" is not exactly down the block in absolute terms. At just 12 million miles away, though, it's just a stone's throw away, as far as the cosmos are concerned. Considering that we're running out of ways to doom this planet, it's never too early to start looking for a new one to ruin a little farther down the line.

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  12. Space

    Kepler Telescope Discovers 41 New Exoplanets

    With Curiosity getting so much attention lately, it 's easy to forget that NASA has just oodles of other cool stuff going on right now. Yes, most of it does not involve skycrane drops or lasers or HD pictures of the surface of an alien world, but it is still cool, you guys! Case in point: NASA's Kepler mission announced today that is has found 41 new exoplanets in 20 star systems. The results are preliminary and some are still being peer-reviewed to ensure that they are planets and not blips in the data or just alien civilizations messing with us. If they pan out, though -- and there's every reason to believe most of them will -- it will raise the number of planets discovered by the Kepler mission by nearly 50%, to  a grand total of 116 planets.

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  13. Space

    Researchers Observe Planet Swallowed by Star, Offer Terrifying Sneak Preview of Earth’s Fate

    We all have plenty of things to worry about and be frightened by in the course of a given day. Paying the bills, getting to work on time, making sure we don't step in front of a bus while texting. Apparently, though, researchers at Penn State University think we could all use one more thing to have anxiety over: The Earth will eventually be swallowed by our own slowly dying sun, just as the red giant star BD+48 740 did to one of its planets. It's the first time that astronomers have been able to observe, in some way, the consumption of a planet by its aging star. Sure, that fate is probably 5 billion years in the future for the Earth, when we'll all be long in the ground, but knowing it certainly doesn't make us sleep any more soundly right now.

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  14. Space

    Kepler-11′s Planetary Transition Translated to Sound

    We have loads of astronomical data on various planetary systems that sits on shelves that only a select few folks actually seem to be interested in. That isn't to say it's not a fascinating area of research but books can only reach so many people. But what if we were to translate this data into musical chords? YouTube user Unfuzified has done exactly that with the Kepler-11 system. The six planets are given a pitch based on the distance from their star and the volume is determined by their size to form a fascinating sonata.

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  15. Space

    All of the Exoplanets, to Scale, Courtesy of xkcd [INFOGRAPHIC]

    One of the best things the comic strip xkcd does is present the mind-bogglingly large in a beautiful, elegant way. This time, the webcomic's artist turned his eye to exoplanets, presenting all the other worlds we've yet discovered in one image, to scale. There sure are an awful lot of them.

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