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 […]

NASA Space Telescope Sees Possible X-Ray 'Screams' From Zombie Stars

Illustration showing the central region of our galaxy as seen by NuSTAR (magenta circle). The smaller circle shows where the image was taken. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

It sounds like something from a bad sci-fi movie, but a NASA space telescope has detected what might be the X-ray “screams” from dead (zombie) stars. The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope […]

Just Add Water: Scientists Explain Saturn's Powerful Thunderstorms

A giant storm in Saturn’s northern hemisphere, which now extends around the planet, as seen by the Cassini spacecraft. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Thunderstorms are a powerful force of nature, but the ones we experience on Earth are dwarfed by the ones on the gas giant planet Saturn. They are huge and can be larger […]

'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, […]

New Horizons Sends Back New Photos of Pluto on Clyde Tombaugh's Birthday

Two new images of Pluto and its largest moon Charon, taken on Jan. 25 and Jan. 27, 2015 by the New Horizons spacecraft. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

As the New Horizons spacecraft continues speeding toward its rendezvous with Pluto this summer, it has just sent back new photos […]

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 […]

Tilted Aquaplanets Might Still be Habitable, Study Suggests

Artist’s conception of an ocean-covered aquaplanet. Image Credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT

With so many exoplanets now being discovered on a regular basis by astronomers, the focus has turned to what number of them might be habitable for some kind of life. For life as we know it at least, that depends on a number of […]

Kepler Finds 'Super-Earth' Exoplanet in First Discovery of New Mission

Artist’s conception of super-Earth HIP 116454b. Image Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)

The Kepler space telescope has found its first new exoplanet, a “super-Earth,” of its secondary mission phase. The discovery adds to a current tally of 996 confirmed exoplanets and 4,183 planetary candidates already found by the revolutionary planet-hunting telescope.

[…]

Dawn Spacecraft Takes Its Best-Yet Image of Dwarf Planet Ceres

The best image of dwarf planet Ceres obtained so far by the Dawn spacecraft, from 740,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) away. Images will get much better as the spacecraft approaches Ceres over the next few months. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

The Dawn spacecraft continues to make its way closer to a world which still hasn’t […]

Landing Site Selected for First-Ever Attempt to Land on a Comet

Landing site J, marked by the white + sign, on the head of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

A landing site has now been chosen for the Rosetta spacecraft’s lander, Philae, on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, it was announced this morning. After several candidate landing sites had been considered, site J has now […]