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It's a 'Pivotal Milestone' Courtesy of Webb Telescope

In a first, chemical composition of an exoplanet's clouds definitively identified

(Newser) - The James Webb Space Telescope has revealed details of an "absolutely hostile" planet where it rains, not water, but particles of silicate sand, which whip around at speeds of a couple of miles per second. The gas giant Wasp-107b, some 200 light years away in the Virgo constellation, is...

Possible Sign of Life Detected 120 Light Years Away

Webb telescope makes intriguing find in atmosphere of planet K2-18b

(Newser) - A Hycean planet is a planet with a hydrogen-rich atmosphere and oceans of liquid water—and NASA says the James Webb Space Telescope may have spotted an intriguing one 120 light years away. Researchers say they have detected carbon-bearing molecules including methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of K2-18b,...

Webb Space Telescope Spots Its First Exoplanet

'With this telescope, rocky exoplanets are the new frontier'

(Newser) - The James Webb Space Telescope has made a hot new find: LHS 475 b, a rocky planet almost exactly the same size as Earth. The first exoplanet spotted by the telescope has 99% of our planet's diameter and is relatively close, 41 light years away in the Octans constellation,...

Evidence of Alien Life Might Emerge in a Cloud of Methane

The trick will be ruling out nonbiological explanations

(Newser) - Methane—a key ingredient in delightful things like swamp gas, flatulence, and fossil-fuel emissions —could also prove to be a key biosignature, i.e., evidence of extraterrestrial life. Thus, the gas is top-of-mind for scientists preparing to receive an influx of data from the James Webb Space Telescope. According...

Astronomers Puzzled by 'Radically Different' Solar System

Planets around HD 3167 have perpendicular orbits

(Newser) - In some solar systems, including our own, planets orbit around the star's equator. In others, they orbit around the star's poles—and in one that has puzzled astronomers, both kinds of orbit have been observed. Researchers say that in the HD 3167 system around 150 light years away,...

29 Planets Are in Prime Spot to Observe Earth
29 Planets Are in 
Prime Spot to 
Observe Earth

29 Planets Are in Prime Spot to Observe Earth

They orbit some of the stars that have a 'cosmic front seat'

(Newser) - Astronomers searching the cosmos for signs of life are getting curious about who might be looking back. Of the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy, astronomers have pinpointed 1,715 nearby systems where their alien counterparts might have been able to detect Earth at some point in the...

This Image Is Unlike Any Taken Before
This Image
Is Unlike Any
Ever Taken

This Image Is Unlike Any Ever Taken

Telescope captures family portrait of 2 planets orbiting young sun

(Newser) - For the first time, a telescope has captured a family portrait of another solar system with not just one, but two planets posing directly for the cameras while orbiting a star like our sun. This baby sun and its two giant gas planets are fairly close by galactic standards at...

Mystery of Missing Exoplanet May Be Solved
Mystery of Missing
Exoplanet May Be Solved
in case you missed it

Mystery of Missing Exoplanet May Be Solved

Turns out, Fomalhaut b may not have been an exoplanet after all

(Newser) - Anyone seen Fomalhaut b? In 2008 we learned the exoplanet had been spotted in groundbreaking fashion by the Hubble Telescope, but nobody's caught a glimpse of it for quite a while. Now astronomers think they know why. Turns out, Fomalhaut b may not have been an exoplanet at all,...

Teen Intern on 3rd Day: What's This Black Dot?

Wolf Cukier, 17, spotted a new planet for NASA

(Newser) - There's nothing like a good intern—and Wolf Cukier proves it. The New York teen joined a NASA program last summer and spotted an unknown planet orbiting two stars about 1,300 light-years away. "It was awesome," he tells the New York Times . "I never expected...

For Nobel Prize in Physics, a 3-Way Triumph

The work revolves around discovery of an exoplanet, 'discoveries in physical cosmology'

(Newser) - Three scientists have won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics for their contribution to the understanding of the evolution of the universe and "Earth's place in the cosmos," a day after two Americans and one British scientist were bestowed the award for physiology or medicine . One half...

Planet Has Both Water, Temperature Needed for Life

It's a big first

(Newser) - In a tantalizing first, scientists have discovered water at a planet outside our solar system that has temperatures suitable for life, the AP reports. Two research groups announced this week that they've found water vapor in the atmosphere of a planet 110 light-years away in the constellation Leo. This...

NASA: 7 Earth-esque Planets Could Potentially Hold Life
NASA Finds 7
Earth-Size Planets

NASA Finds 7 Earth-Size Planets

40 light-years away, orbiting dwarf star Trappist-1

(Newser) - For the first time, astronomers have discovered seven Earth-size planets orbiting a nearby star—and these new worlds could hold life, reports the AP . NASA and the Belgian-led research team announced the news Wednesday. This cluster of planets is 40 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius. They circle tightly around...

Wacky Planet Has 3 Sunrises, 3 Sunsets Each Day

Or else it spends 140 Earth-years in daylight

(Newser) - Don't let aliens from HD 131399Ab hear you complaining about global warming. The newly discovered planet 340 light-years from Earth in the constellation Centaurus is the first found to be orbiting three suns and is scorching at 1,000 degrees—though that's mostly because of its gas formation....

Century-Old Evidence of Exoplanet Stuns Scientists

It came 70 years ahead of first exoplanet discovery

(Newser) - Polluted white dwarf stars—which host planetary debris like calcium, magnesium, and iron—are key in helping astronomers discover what's beyond our solar system. "The mechanism that creates the rings of planetary debris, and the deposition onto the stellar atmosphere, requires the gravitational influence of full-fledged planets,"...

The Biggest Physics Breakthroughs of the Year

We now know what's needed for secure quantum teleportation

(Newser) - Physics World has given its 2015 Breakthrough of the Year award to two scientists in China who demonstrated the requirements for secure quantum teleportation. Sadly, this doesn't mean you'll be able to randomly appear anywhere in the world, but it's pretty cool regardless. Basically, the research...

New Definition Could Make the Moon a Planet

Astronomer's mathematical formula could help in identifying exoplanets

(Newser) - You'll remember the International Astronomical Union's redefinition of a planet in 2006 as the move that demoted Pluto to a mere dwarf planet. But scientists recall the change for another reason: The new classification is incredibly vague. Basically, any nearly round celestial body that orbits the sun and...

Planet Discovered in 2012 Was Really a 'Ghost'

Alpha Centauri Bb was never there, astronomers say

(Newser) - When an Earth-sized planet was detected in the closest star system to us in 2012, excited astronomers suggested dropping everything and sending a probe. That would have been a mistake, because researchers have now determined that Alpha Centauri Bb does not exist. Astronomers—including the team that "discovered" the...

NASA Finds Earth's 'Older Cousin'

Kepler-452b has NASA scientists excited

(Newser) - Kepler-438b , move over for Kepler-452b. The latter is the name of a planet newly discovered by the Kepler space telescope that is now the most Earth-like one NASA has found so far, reports the BBC . It's about one and a half times the size of Earth , and orbits...

This 15-Year-Old Intern Found Something 'Amazing'
This 15-Year-Old Intern
Found Something 'Amazing'
in case you missed it

This 15-Year-Old Intern Found Something 'Amazing'

It took 2 years to confirm that WASP-142b is indeed a planet

(Newser) - British high school student Tom Wagg already has a line on his resume most of us can only dream of. While interning at Keele University two years ago, the then-15-year-old found what looked to be a planet; telescopes in Chile were used to take a deeper look, and now astronomers...

Jupiter Made Our Solar System Weird
 Jupiter Made Our 
 Solar System Weird 

Jupiter Made Our Solar System Weird

Wandering planet wiped out early super-Earths

(Newser) - As astronomers get a better look at the planets circling other stars, it's becoming increasingly apparent that our solar system is pretty strange—and Jupiter seems to be the reason why. Most other solar systems appear to have at least one large planet orbiting very close to the star,...

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