extrasolar planets

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'Super Earth' Spotted, Might Support Life

GG 667Cc orbits star 22 light years away

(Newser) - A planet in a triple-star system a relatively close 22 light years away is the best candidate yet for supporting life, researchers say. The rocky planet, GJ 667Cc, is around 4.5 times the size of Earth and orbits in the middle of the "Goldilocks zone" where water can... More »

Space Telescope Spots Earth-Sized Worlds

Kepler discoveries are smallest exoplanets yet found

(Newser) - For the first time, scientists have discovered planets roughly the size of ours outside our solar system. Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f are the smallest exoplanets yet found, Discovery reports. Because they're so close to the star they orbit, they don't appear habitable, but the finding is "next major... More »

Alien Planet Discovered in Milky Way

HIP 13044B and its star originated in different galaxy

(Newser) - As planets go, HIP 13044B is one hell of a survivor. Astronomers say the planet—the first one originating from another galaxy ever found in the Milky Way—is part of a solar system that once belonged to a dwarf galaxy that was cannibalized by our own. The planet has... More »

Hawking: Ditch Earth, Head to Space to Survive

But watch out for the aliens

(Newser) - If mankind is to survive we must leave earth for colonies on other planets within the next 100 years, warns renowned physicist Stephen Hawking. "I see big dangers for mankind. Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain inward looking on planet Earth but to spread out... More »

NASA Planet Hunter Finds 5 New Worlds

Glowing hot planets found, 100 possibles being analyzed

(Newser) - NASA's planet-hunting Kepler telescope has found its first five planets outside our solar system, and they're all hotter than molten lava.The planets are all much bigger than Earth and orbit their suns very closely. Their discovery is a dramatic demonstration that Kepler is working well, boosting the hopes of... More »

Astronomers Find Watery Planet

Probably can't support life, but it's the closest find yet

(Newser) - Astronomers have found a planet made mostly of water, coming ever closer to finding something out there that could theoretically support life. This one, dubbed GJ 1214b, probably isn't it—it's way too hot and surrounded by superheated gases. But it's "the most watertight evidence so far for a... More »

32 New Exoplanets Discovered

New finds signal that cosmos harbors wealth of planets

(Newser) - European astronomers have discovered 32 new planets in other solar systems, bringing the total of known exoplanets to over 400. The planets—which range in size from five times the size of Earth to five times the size of Jupiter—were found circling a variety of stars. The new discoveries... More »

Dim Sun Is Cold Comfort to Scientists

(Newser) - The sun may be heading for one of its dimmest periods in history, but that doesn't mean the big star is joining the battle against global warming, according to scientists. The sun hit a 100-year low in sunspot activity last year, reports the Telegraph. More »

If Another Earth Is Out There, Kepler Will Find it

NASA telescope designed to look for life-sustaining planets

(Newser) - If there's truly no place like home, then NASA's new Kepler mission will help scientists prove it. The space telescope, set to launch March 5, will scan the skies for planets with the approximate size and temperature range of Earth. Matches could be candidates for extraterrestrial life; if Kepler finds... More »

Scientists Snap First Images of New Planets

Three-planet, one-planet systems caught on camera

(Newser) - Scientists have photographed planets outside our solar system for the first time, Space.com reports. One team captured images of a three-planet system orbiting a star in the Pegasus constellation, while another group snapped a planet rotating around the star Fomalhaut. The planets can't support life or little green men,... More »

Discoveries Boost Hope for Alien Life

New forms of extreme bacteria fuel hope for extraterrestrial life

(Newser) - Humans have always wondered about the possibility of alien life somewhere out there. And while scientists seem to agree that the discovery of extraterrestrials will not happen soon, growing numbers are convinced it will happen. The search is being fueled in part by recent discoveries of strange new life forms... More »

Scientists Find Planets Out of This World

Discoveries of, info about new heavenly bodies pour into NASA

(Newser) - Humans took centuries to discover the other planets in the solar system, but in the 13 years since the first additional planet was identified, planetary scientists have found 277 more worlds orbiting other suns. And those extrasolar planets are just the confirmed ones—many more are suspected, and excitement among... More »

Methane Found on Far-off Planet

Compound, crucial ingredient in early-life chemistry, detected 63 light years away

(Newser) - Methane, one of the simplest compounds known to play a role in the chemical genesis of life, was discovered for the first time to exist on a planet outside Earth’s solar system, the BBC reports. The planet, designated HD 189733b, is 63 light years away and also contains water,... More »

13 Stories