AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch AFSPC-4 on a Delta 4 - Medium+ rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL scheduled for 24 Jul 14 22:59:00 GMT

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From a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Astronomers Discover Ancient Super-Earths in Our Galactic Neighborhood

Artistic representation of the recently discovered, potentially habitable world Kapteyn b, with the globular cluster Omega Centauri in the background. It is believed that the Omega Centauri is the remaining core of a dwarf galaxy that merged with our own galaxy billions of years ago, bringing Kapteyn’s star along. Credit/Caption: PHL @ UPR Arecibo, [...]

Studying the Light of Alien Atmospheres With NESSI

A new multi-object, near-infrared spectrograph, installed on the Magdalena Ridge Observatory’s 2.4-m Telescope, will study the atmospheres of extrasolar planets located relatively close to Earth, allowing astronomers to probe their chemical composition. Image Credit: MRO

Exoplanetary astronomy has been one of the most productive scientific endeavors in recent years, with new discoveries of planets [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

It's an Alien Blue World—But Nothing Like Earth

Artist’s conception of exoplanet HD 189733b—a “deep blue dot” reminiscent of Earth from a distance. Image Credit: NASA / ESA / M. Kornmesser

The planets and moons in our Solar System come in a wide variety of colors, and the natural beauty can be breathtaking. Now, the true color of a much more distant [...]

Hubble Space Telescope Reveals Evidence of Farthest Known Planet From Its Star

A gap in the protoplanetary disk of dust and gas whirling around TV Hydrae uncovered evidence of an unseen, growing planet, according to astronomers studying Hubble data. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Debes (STScI), H. Jang-Condell (University of Wyoming), A. Weinberger (Carnegie Institution of Washington), A. Roberge (Goddard Space Flight Center), G. Schneider (University [...]

Hubble Space Telescope to Use Microlensing to Hunt for Nearby Exoplanets

Artist’s impression of a planet orbiting the red dwarf Proxima Centauri. Image Credit: Michael Kilderry.

It was announced this week at the 222nd meeting of American Astronomical Society that Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf and the closest star to the Sun, is predicted to pass in front of two unnamed background stars, one in [...]

Some Exoplanets May be Even More Habitable Than Earth

Some rocky exoplanets may be warmer and more geologically active than Earth—and perhaps even more habitable. Image Credit: J. Pinfield / RoPACS / University of Hertfordshire

In the search for life elsewhere, the Earth is typically used as a standard against which other planets, or moons, are compared. Since our planet is teeming with [...]