Orbiting Rainbows: Using 'Glitter Clouds' to Search For and Image Exoplanets

The search for exoplanets may one day get a lot more glittery. It sounds a bit like science fiction, but a new NASA proposal called Orbiting Rainbows would use glitter-like materials to help image some of those far-away worlds, which could enable high-resolution imaging at a fraction of the cost.

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'Old Earths': The Search for Ancient and Habitable (But Dying) Exoplanets

Illustration depicting the life cycle of Sun-like stars. Billions of years from now, our own Sun will expand into a red giant star, scorching any life that exists. Image Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Researchers at Cornell University are taking a new approach to the search for alien life: looking for habitable planets older than Earth, […]

Spitzer Space Telescope Discovers Distant Exoplanet Across the Milky Way

Utilising NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered a distant exoplanet located 13,000 light-years away, through gravitational microlensing. The red cone in the map above our Solar System, depicts the extend in the galaxy of the thousands of known exoplanets that have been discovered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, while the red circle represents […]

Two Earth-Sized Exoplanets May Exist in Closest Star System, Hubble Observations Reveal

Artist’s conception of the Alpha Centauri binary star system and the exoplanet Alpha Centauri Bb. Our own Sun is also shown in the distance. Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/N. Risinger

The closest star system to our own Sun may have two Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting it, a new study has shown based on observations by the […]

Kepler Planet Hunter and APL Experimenter Krimigis Honored by Smithsonian

Marine Gen. John “Jack” R. Dailey (front right), director of the National Air and Space Museum, presents the 2015 Current Achievement Trophy Award to William Borucki (front left) and NASA’s Kepler Mission Team. Photo Credit: NASM

The scientists and engineers searching for potentially habitable planets orbiting distant stars, as well as the exploration of […]

Jupiter Might Be Responsible for Our Unusual Solar System, Study Suggests

A montage of Jupiter and its volcanic moon Io, as seen by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on its way to Pluto. The results of a new study indicate that the massive gas giant fundamentally altered the evolution of the early Solar System, by destroying any “Super-Earth”-type planets that may have formed, while opening the […]

Scientists Create Color-Based Catalog of Earthly Life Forms to Help Search for Alien Biology

A hypothetical rendering of colorful plant life on a habitable exoplanet. Although most such alien life, if it exists, found with this technique may be microscopic, it illustrates how analysis of color could help scientists learn more about the physical nature of alien biology. Image Credit: NASA/Caltech/Doug Cummings

With exoplanets now being discovered by […]

Under the Light of a Quadruple Sun: Astronomers Discover Additional Stellar Companions in Nearby Exoplanetary Systems

Artist’s conception of the quadruple star system 30 Arietis. The primary star, called 30 Arietis B, has a companion (the small “red dwarf” star shown at upper left). This pair of stars is itself locked in a long-distance orbit with another pair of stars (upper right), known as 30 Arietis A. A team of […]

New Technique to Study Clouds on Exoplanets Developed by Researchers at MIT

Artist’s conception of clouds on Kepler-7b. Image Credit: NASA (edited by Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT)

While exoplanets are now being discovered by the thousands, it is still a painstaking process to determine any specific details about them, since they are so incredibly far away. However, astronomers have been devising new techniques to do just that, including […]

Astronomers Discover Ancient Terrestrial Exoplanets Around Neighboring Star

Artist’s concept of the recently discovered, tightly packed, and ancient exoplanetary system named Kepler-444. Astroseismic studies of the star’s oscillations, allowed astronomers to determine that it is the oldest planetary system discovered to date, with an age of approximately 11 billion years. Image Credit: Tiago Campante/Peter Devine/University of Birmingham

 

“Nearly a hundred thousand […]