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Next Launch Luch-5V on a Proton-M rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan scheduled for 28 Apr 14 4:25:00 GMT

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Big Discovery: First Earth-Sized Exoplanet in Habitable Zone of Another Star

Artist’s conception of Kepler-186f in orbit around its red dwarf star. Image Credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

Today was another big day for those interested in space exploration and in the search for other Earth-like, alien worlds in particular: The first Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting another star in the habitable zone has been discovered, it was [...]

First Direct Imaging of Exoplanet in Visible Light Obtained by Ground-Based Telescope

Image of the exoplanet Beta Pictoris b made with the Magellan Adaptive Optics (MagAO) VisAO camera. This image was made using a CCD camera, which is essentially the same technology as a cell phone camera. The planet is nearly 100,000 times fainter than its star and orbits its star at roughly the same distance [...]

Exoplanet Bonanza: Kepler Confirms More than 700 New Worlds

Illustration showing multiple-transiting planetary systems, such as those found by Kepler. Image Credit: NASA

There was more exciting exoplanet news this week from the Kepler mission: the space telescope has confirmed 715 new exoplanets! This brings the current total number of such worlds to 1,766, of which 961 have been found by Kepler. There are [...]

European Space Agency Selects PLATO Observatory for Proposed 2024 Launch

From the European Space Agency (ESA): “The PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO) mission will identify and study thousands of exoplanetary systems, with an emphasis on discovering and characterising Earth-sized planets and super-Earths. It will also investigate seismic activity in stars, enabling a precise characterisation of the host sun of each planet discovered, [...]

PLATO Exoplanet Mission Proposal Awaits Final Selection by ESA, Following Recent Positive Recommendation

The European Space Agency’s PLATO mission aims to discover and characterize hundreds of Earth-sized exoplanets inside the habitable zones of approximately 1 million stars. The mission is likely to be approved for implementation by ESA during an announcement due for next week. Image Credit: PLATO Definition Study Report/ESA

 

The European Space Agency’s Science [...]

Three new exoplanets discovered in star cluster

Artist’s conception of one of the newly-found planets in the Messier 67 star cluster. Image Credit: ESO

Three more exoplanets have just been found, adding to a long and rapidly growing list, but their location makes them a bit more unique - they orbit three different stars in a star cluster rather than other isolated stars [...]

James Webb Space Telescope Flight Instruments and Primary Mirror Segments Ready for Assembly

The amazing mirrors that will fly aboard NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will allow the James Webb Space Telescope to see farther away and further back in time to detect the light from the very first and most distant stars and galaxies. In this photo, an engineer’s crystal clear reflection is seen on the [...]

Of Exoplanets and Habitability: Exploring the Possibility of 'Superhabitable Worlds'

Artist’s impression of an exoplanet with a mass approximately 3.6 times that of Earth, discovered orbiting just inside of the habitable zone of the Sun-like star HD 85512. Are “Super-Earths” such as this the most promising candidates for harboring extraterrestrial life? Image Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

“For there is a single general space, a single [...]

One Step at a Time: Construction of the James Webb Space Telescope Steadily Going Forward

Segments of the James Webb Space Telescope’s primary mirror, while undergoing cryogenic testing. Image: Ball Aerospace

In what constitutes important and exciting news for space science and astrophysics, the final segments of the primary mirror for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) have been delivered to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

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Exoplanet Research Steps Up: Traces of Water in Exoplanet Atmospheres Discovered

An artist’s concept of extrasolar planet HD 209458b. A recent study discovered traces of water in the planet’s atmosphere, using the Hubble Space Telescope. Image Credit: NASA.

 

In a big step forward for exoplanet research, two teams of astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope were able to conclusively identify traces of water in [...]