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Current Planets News and Events, Planets News Articles.
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Trans-Neptunian objects suggest that there are more planets in the solar system
There could be at least two unknown planets hidden well beyond Pluto, whose gravitational influence determines the orbits and strange distribution of objects observed beyond Neptune. This has been revealed by numerical calculations made by researchers at the Complutense University of Madrid and the University of Cambridge. If confirmed, this hypothesis would revolutionize solar system models. (2015-01-15)

Meteorite material born in molten spray as embryo planets collided
Research suggests collisions of planetary embryos could be the origin of the material that formed asteroids. Chondrules, tiny bead-like grains of solidified melted rock found in meteorites, might actually be byproducts of impacts between objects of an earlier generation, and not leftover planet-building material. Meteorites may not be representative of the material that made planets. (2015-01-14)

Stargazers begin hunt for planets
University of Warwick scientists have begun searching for planets after the unveiling of 12 robotically controlled telescopes. The telescopes, which form a wide-field observing system called the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), aim to detect the slight dimming of a star when a planets passes across its face. NGTS is a collaborative project between four UK universities -- Warwick, Leicester, Queen's Belfast and Cambridge -- Geneva Observatory and the German Space Agency. (2015-01-14)

New exoplanet-hunting telescopes on Paranal
The Next-Generation Transit Survey has achieved first light at ESO's Paranal Observatory in northern Chile. This project will search for transiting exoplanets -- planets that pass in front of their parent star and hence produce a slight dimming of the star's light that can be detected by sensitive instruments. The telescopes will focus on discovering Neptune-sized and smaller planets, with diameters between two and eight times that of Earth. (2015-01-14)

Queen's University Belfast in breakthrough research to discover new planets
Scientists from Queen's University Belfast have partnered with leading astrophysicists across Europe for a ground-breaking space research project that will form a crucial step in the quest to study small, rocky planets orbiting other stars and discover new planets. The Next-Generation Transit Survey has achieved first light at the European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory in Chile, and will reach a level of accuracy never before attained under observatory conditions. (2015-01-13)

Gemini Planet Imager produces stunning observations in its first year
Stunning exoplanet images and spectra from the first year of science operations with the Gemini Planet Imager were featured today in a press conference at the 225th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington. The Gemini Planet Imager GPI is an advanced instrument designed to observe the environments close to bright stars to detect and study Jupiter-like exoplanets (planets around other stars) and see protostellar material (disk, rings) that might be lurking next to the star. (2015-01-06)

Eight new planets found in 'Goldilocks' zone
Astronomers announced today that they have found eight new planets in the 'Goldilocks' zone of their stars, orbiting at a distance where liquid water can exist on the planet's surface. This doubles the number of small planets (less than twice the diameter of Earth) believed to be in the habitable zone of their parent stars. Among these eight, the team identified two that are the most similar to Earth of any known exoplanets to date. (2015-01-06)

New instrument reveals recipe for other Earths
How do you make an Earth-like planet? The 'test kitchen' of Earth has given us a detailed recipe, but it wasn't clear whether other planetary systems would follow the same formula. Now, astronomers have found evidence that the recipe for Earth also applies to terrestrial exoplanets orbiting distant stars. (2015-01-05)

Stars' spins reveal their ages
When you're a kid every birthday is cause for celebration, but as you get older they become a little less exciting. You might not want to admit just how old you are. And you might notice yourself slowing down over the years. You're not alone -- the same is true of stars. They slow down as they age, and their ages are well-kept secrets. Astronomers are taking advantage of the first fact to tackle the second and tease out stellar ages. (2015-01-05)

Super-Earths have long-lasting oceans
For life as we know it to develop on other planets, those planets would need liquid water, or oceans. Geologic evidence suggests that Earth's oceans have existed for nearly the entire history of our world. But would that be true of other planets, particularly super-Earths? New research suggests the answer is yes and that oceans on super-Earths, once established, can last for billions of years. (2015-01-05)

Detecting extraterrestrial life through motion
EPFL scientists have developed an extremely sensitive device that can detect life forms by sensing the slightest motion. The chemistry-free system can be used to rapidly test antibiotics or even to search for life on other planets. (2014-12-29)

Kepler proves it can still find planets
To paraphrase Mark Twain, the report of the Kepler spacecraft's death was greatly exaggerated. Despite a malfunction that ended its primary mission in May 2013, Kepler is still alive and working. The evidence comes from the discovery of a new super-Earth using data collected during Kepler's 'second life.' (2014-12-18)

Nuclear fragments could help uncover the origins of life-supporting planets
New research published today in the journal Physical Review Letters describes how recreating isotopes that occur when a star explodes, can help physicists understand where life-supporting elements may be found in space. (2014-12-12)

Swarms of Pluto-size objects kick-up dust around adolescent Sun-like star
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array may have detected the dusty hallmarks of an entire family of Pluto-size objects swarming around an adolescent version of our own Sun. (2014-12-11)

Finding infant earths and potential life just got easier
Among the billions and billions of stars in the sky, where should astronomers look for infant Earths where life might develop? New research from Cornell University's Institute for Pale Blue Dots shows where -- and when -- infant Earths are most likely to be found. The paper by research associate Ramses M. Ramirez and director Lisa Kaltenegger, 'The Habitable Zones of Pre-Main-Sequence Stars' will be published in the Jan. 1, 2015, issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters. (2014-12-04)

'Ocean Worlds'
Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams's new book, 'Ocean Worlds,' examines the nature and deep history of oceans, looks at how and when oceans may have formed on Earth and how they evolved, explores the importance of oceans in hosting life on which both humans and animals depend, considers how climate change, pollution, and over-exploitation are putting resources at risk, looks at what we know of oceans on other planets and considers what may become of our oceans in the future. (2014-12-03)

'Mirage Earth' exoplanets may have burned away chances for life
Planets orbiting close to low-mass stars -- easily the most common stars in the universe -- are prime targets in the search for extraterrestrial life. But new research led by an astronomy graduate student at the University of Washington indicates some such planets may have long since lost their chance at hosting life because of intense heat during their formative years. (2014-12-03)

Losing air
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Hebrew University, and California Technical Institute believe a blitz of small space rocks, or planetesimals, may have bombarded Earth around the time the moon was formed, kicking up clouds of gas with enough force to permanently eject small portions of the atmosphere into space. (2014-12-02)

Ground-based detection of super-Earth transit paves way to remote sensing of exoplanets
For the first time, a team of astronomers -- including York University professor Ray Jayawardhana -- have measured the passing of a super-Earth in front of a bright, nearby sun-like star using a ground-based telescope. (2014-12-01)

Ground-based detection of super-Earth transit achieved
Astronomers have measured the passing of a super-Earth in front of a bright, nearby Sun-like star using a ground-based telescope for the first time. The transit of the exoplanet 55 Cancri e is the shallowest detected from the ground yet. Since detecting a transit is the first step in analyzing a planet's atmosphere, this success bodes well for characterizing the many small planets that upcoming space missions are expected to discover in the next few years. (2014-12-01)

How to estimate the magnetic field of an exoplanet?
Scientists developed a new method which allows to estimate the magnetic field of a distant exoplanet, i.e., a planet, which is located outside the Solar system and orbits a different star. Moreover, they managed to estimate the value of the magnetic moment of the planet HD 209458b. The group of scientists including one of the researchers of the Lomonosov State University published their article in the Science magazine. (2014-11-20)

Pulling together the early solar system
A new study finds that a strong magnetic field whipped the early solar system into shape. (2014-11-13)

Baby photos of a scaled-up solar system
University of Arizona astronomers have discovered two dust belts surrounded by a large dust halo around young star HD 95086. The findings provide a look back at what our solar system may have resembled in its infancy. (2014-11-10)

NASA's Hubble surveys debris-strewn exoplanetary construction yards
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have completed the largest and most sensitive visible-light imaging survey of dusty debris disks around other stars. These dusty disks, likely created by collisions between leftover objects from planet formation, were imaged around stars as young as 10 million years old and as mature as more than 1 billion years old. (2014-11-06)

Sustainability, astrobiology illuminate future of life in universe, civilization on Earth
Two astrophysicists argue that questions about the future of life on Earth and beyond may soon be resolvable scientifically, thanks to new data about the Earth and about other planets in our galaxy, and by combining the earth-based science of sustainability with the space-oriented field of astrobiology. (2014-11-06)

Birth of planets revealed in astonishing detail in ALMA's 'best image ever'
Astronomers have captured the best image ever of planet formation around an infant star as part of the testing and verification process for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array's new high-resolution capabilities. (2014-11-06)

European satellite could discover thousands of planets in Earth's galaxy
Princeton University and Lund University researchers project that the recently launched European satellite Gaia could discover tens of thousands of planets during its five-year mission. (2014-11-05)

VLTI detects exozodiacal light
By using the full power of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer an international team of astronomers has discovered exozodiacal light close to the habitable zones around nine nearby stars. This light is starlight reflected from dust created as the result of collisions between asteroids, and the evaporation of comets. The presence of such large amounts of dust in the inner regions around some stars may pose an obstacle to the direct imaging of Earth-like planets. (2014-11-03)

Yale finds a planet that won't stick to a schedule
For their latest discovery, Yale astronomers and the Planet Hunters program have found a low-mass, low-density planet with a punctuality problem. The new planet, called PH3c, is located 2,300 light years from Earth and has an atmosphere loaded with hydrogen and helium. It is described in the Oct. 29 online edition of The Astrophysical Journal. (2014-10-30)

New study finds oceans arrived early to Earth
Earth is known as the Blue Planet because of its oceans, which cover more than 70 percent of the planet's surface and are home to the world's greatest diversity of life. While water is essential for life on the planet, the answers to two key questions have eluded us: where did Earth's water come from and when? (2014-10-30)

Planet-forming lifeline discovered in a binary star system
Scientists using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array have detected a streamer of dust and gas flowing from a massive outer disk toward the inner reaches of a binary star system. This never-before-seen feature may be responsible for sustaining a second, smaller disk of planet-forming material that otherwise would have disappeared long ago. (2014-10-29)

Distant planets provide a glimpse of the future of Earth's oceans
The impact of climate change and over-exploitation on oceans is explored in new book by Leicester geologists. (2014-10-23)

Packard Foundation names UChicago's Jacob Bean as a 2014 fellow
The University of Chicago's Jacob bean has received a 2014 Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering. Bean is one of 18 early-career scientists and engineers nationwide to receive the fellowship from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. (2014-10-20)

Getting to know super-earths
Results from NASA's Kepler mission have indicated that the most common planets in the galaxy are super-Earths -- those that are bigger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. We have no examples of these planets in our own solar system, so Heather Knutson, assistant professor of planetary science at Caltech, and her colleagues are using space telescopes to try to find out more about these worlds. Most recently they used Hubble to study the planet HD 97658b, in the constellation Leo. (2014-10-15)

Astronomers spot faraway Uranus-like planet
Our view of other solar systems just got a little more familiar, with the discovery of a planet 25,000 light-years away that resembles our own Uranus. (2014-10-15)

Hubble project involving CU-Boulder maps temperature, water vapor on wild exoplanet
A team of scientists including a University of Colorado Boulder professor used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to make the most detailed global map yet of the glow from a giant, oddball planet orbiting another star, an object twice as massive as Jupiter and hot enough to melt steel. (2014-10-09)

NASA's Hubble maps the temperature and water vapor on an extreme exoplanet
A team of scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has made the most detailed global map yet of the glow from a turbulent planet outside our solar system, revealing its secrets of air temperatures and water vapor. (2014-10-09)

Hubble reveals most detailed exoplanet weather map ever
A team of scientists using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have made the most detailed map ever of the temperature of an exoplanet's atmosphere, and traced the amount of water it contains. The planet targeted for both of the investigations was the hot-Jupiter exoplanet WASP-43b. (2014-10-09)

Are the world's religions ready for ET?
Astronomer David Weintraub's new book, 'Religions & Extraterrestrial Life,' explores the question of what the world's various religions have to say about the existence of extraterrestrial life. (2014-09-30)

New molecule found in space connotes life origins
Hunting from a distance of 27,000 light years, astronomers have discovered an unusual carbon-based molecule contained within a giant gas cloud in interstellar space. The discovery suggests that the complex molecules needed for life may have their origins in interstellar space. (2014-09-26)

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