AmericaSpace Countdown

Next Launch TMA-16M on a Soyuz-FG rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
scheduled for:
27 Mar 15 19:42:59 GMT
28 Mar 15 1:42:59 ALMT
27 Mar 15 15:42:59 Eastern

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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 […]

Massive Alien Ring System Is Much Larger Than Saturn's—And May Contain Exomoons

Artist’s conception of the ring system circling the young giant planet (or brown dwarf) J1407b. Image Credit: Ron Miller

Astronomers today announced yet another mind-boggling finding: a ring system which orbits a distant giant planet has been found to be much larger and more massive than Saturn’s ring system, the best known example in our own […]

Kepler Discovers Three Super-Earth Exoplanets Orbiting Nearby Star

Cartoon illustration depicting how the three newly-found planets’ shadows (right side) can be seen as eclipses from Earth (left side) as they transit in front of their star. Image Credit: K. Teramura, UH IfA.

Last week was a good one for exoplanet enthusiasts, with yet more news relating to how other worlds are now […]

Gemini Planet Imager Concludes Year-Long Commissioning Phase, Begins Regular Science Observations With Impressive First Results

The circumstellar disk around the young star HR 4796A, as imaged by the Gemini Planet Imager, which is mounted on the 8.2-m Gemini South telescope in Chile. These images reveal a complex pattern of variations in brightness and polarization around the HR 4796A disk. The western side (tilted closer to the Earth) appears brighter […]

Kepler Confirms Over 1,000 Exoplanets, Finds More Potentially Habitable Worlds

Illustration of the eight newly verified exoplanets which are less than twice the size of Earth and orbit within their stars’ habitable zones. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Even after problems threatened to end the Kepler space telescope’s mission for good last year, the planet-hunting observatory has continued to help astronomers discover thousands of exoplanets orbiting […]

Two New Exoplanet Findings Bring Us Closer to Discovering Other Earth-Like Worlds

Artist’s conception of a super-Earth ocean world, with another gas giant planet rising over the horizon. Image Credit: David A. Aguilar/CfA

When it comes to exoplanets, the most exciting for many people are, of course, the ones which may be the most Earth-like, since these are regarded as the most likely to possibly support some form […]