The Case of the Helium-Shrouded Exoplanet With the Hydrogen, Comet-Like Tail

An artist's concept of the vast envelope of atomic hydrogen that envelopes the nearby helium-dominated exoplanet Gliese 436b. The radiation pressure from the planet's host star causes the gradual escape over time of significant amounts of hydrogen from Gliese 436b's atmosphere into space, which subsequently forms a large comet-like tail that follows the planet in its orbit around its star. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

An artist’s concept of the vast envelope of atomic hydrogen that envelopes the nearby helium-dominated exoplanet Gliese 436b. The radiation pressure from the planet’s host star causes the gradual escape over time of significant amounts of hydrogen from Gliese 436b’s atmosphere into space, which subsequently forms a large comet-like tail that follows the planet […]

Saturn's Massive Phoebe Ring Even Larger Than Previously Thought

Image of the Phoebe ring taken in 2009, overlaid in tan colors. The ring is much larger than Saturn's other more visible rings and is also tilted with respect to the other rings. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/U

Image of the Phoebe ring taken in 2009, overlaid in tan colors. The ring is much larger than Saturn’s other more visible rings and is also tilted with respect to the other rings. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/U. Virginia

Saturn is truly the “Lord of the Rings” and one of the most majestic places in the […]

Cloudy With a Chance of Sunshine: Astronomers Study Weather on Distant Exoplanets

An artist’s rendering of the possible weather and atmospheric circulation patterns on hot Jupiters. A new research by a team of astronomers that was based on data taken with NASA’s Kepler space telescope, studied the phase variations that occur as different portions of these planets are illuminated by their host stars as seen from […]

Astronomers Find First Evidence of Possible Volcanic Activity On a Super-Earth Exoplanet

Artist’s conception of super-Earth exoplanet 55 Cancri e, before and after volcanic activity on its day side. The surface may be partially molten. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt

Discovering new exoplanets has become rather routine in the last few years, but determining just what conditions exist on any of them is naturally more difficult, since […]

New NASA NExSS Coalition to Lead Search for Life on Distant Exoplanets

NASA’s NExSS collaboration will bring together scientists from diverse backgrounds to help search for evidence of life in other Solar Systems. Image Credit: NASA

The search for, and discovery of, exoplanets orbiting other stars has become a full-fledged endeavour in recent years, with thousands found so far and more being discovered practically every week. […]

Of Warm Gas and Galaxy Mergers: Collisions Between Galaxies Can Halt Star Formation, According to New Study

A composite image of the gravitationally interacting galaxies NGC 3226 (at the top) and NGC 3227 (bottom), which clearly shows the tidally generated large structures that surround them as a result of a past collision with a third galaxy. Optical wavelengths in the image are shown in gray scale. The infrared glow of dust […]

Hot 'Super-Earths' Provide Clues to Water in Exoplanet Atmospheres

Artist’s conception of super-Earth 55 Cancri e, one of the few exoplanets so far which astronomers are able to study the atmosphere of. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Some of the most interesting exoplanets discovered so far are the “super-Earths,” rocky worlds which are significantly larger and more massive than Earth but still smaller than the […]

Clear Skies Above: Astronomers Detect Water Vapor on Cloud-Free Atmosphere of a Hot-Neptune

An artist’s concept of the cloud-free atmosphere of exoplanet HAT-P-11b, as revealed by the combined observations of NASA’s Hubble, Spitzer, and Kepler space telescopes. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and R. Hurt (JPL-Caltech)

 

Sunny and hot all year-round, with no clouds on the horizon … That’s not a weather forecast only for the Maldive […]

Astronomers Witness Asteroid Smash-Up Around Sun-Like Star

Artist’s conception of an asteroid collision around the Sun-like star NGC 2547-ID8. Such impacts around young stars lead to planetary formation later on. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Solar systems, including ours, are thought to begin as massive clouds of dust and gas surrounding young stars; over billions of years, planets form from repeated impacts of […]

Between the Planet and the Star: A New Ultra-Cold, Sub-Stellar Object Discovered Close to Sun

An artist’s depiction of the newly discovered WISE J085510.83-071442.5, the coldest known brown dwarf candidate, located 7.2 light-years from the Sun. Image Credit: Penn State University/NASA/JPL-Caltech

Contrary to the human need for organising objects in well-defined and distinct categories, our Solar System seems to be replete with celestial objects that defy our tidy definitions […]