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Current Planets News and Events, Planets News Articles.
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Earth's water is older than the sun
Water was crucial to the rise of life on Earth and is also important to evaluating the possibility of life on other planets. Identifying the original source of Earth's water is key to understanding how life-fostering environments come into being and how likely they are to be found elsewhere. New work found that much of our solar system's water likely originated as ices that formed in interstellar space. (2014-09-25)

Heritage of Earth's water gives rise to hopes of life on other planets
A pioneering new study has shown that water found on Earth predates the formation of the Sun -- raising hopes that life could exist on exoplanets, the planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy. (2014-09-25)

New milestone in the search for water on distant planets
Researchers found water vapor and hydrogen in the atmosphere of the exoplanet HAT P-11b, thanks to analyses of observations by three different NASA telescopes. This discovery marks the smallest planet for which scientists have been able to identify some chemical components of its atmosphere. The finding suggests that astronomers' ideas about how the planets formed appear to hold true for other planetary systems, as they do in our own. (2014-09-24)

Clear skies on exo-Neptune
Astronomers using data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Kepler Space Telescope have discovered clear skies and steamy water vapor on a planet outside our Solar System. The planet, known as HAT-P-11b, is about the size of Neptune, making it the smallest exoplanet ever on which water vapor has been detected. The results will appear in the online version of the journal Nature on Sept. 24, 2014. (2014-09-24)

Infant solar system shows signs of windy weather
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array have observed what may be the first-ever signs of windy weather around a T Tauri star, an infant analog of our own Sun. This may help explain why some T Tauri stars have disks that glow weirdly in infrared light while others shine in a more expected fashion. (2014-09-22)

'Hot Jupiters' provoke their own host suns to wobble
Blame the 'hot Jupiters.' These large, gaseous exoplanets can make their suns wobble when they wend their way through their own solar systems to snuggle up against their suns, according to new research to be published in Science, Sept. 11. (2014-09-11)

Researchers search for Venus-like planets
Identification of planets orbiting distant stars is spurring the search for an Earth-like planet. Now a team of researchers has developed a way to distinguish a distant Venus-like planet from an Earth-like one. (2014-09-10)

SF State astronomer pinpoints 'Venus Zone' around stars
San Francisco State University Astronomer Stephen Kane and a team of researchers have defined the 'Venus Zone,' the area around a star in which a planet is likely to exhibit the unlivable conditions found on the planet Venus. The research will aid Kepler astronomers searching for exoplanets, helping them determine which are likely to be similar to Earth and which are more likely to resemble Venus. (2014-09-10)

First evidence for water ice clouds found outside solar system
A team of scientists led by Carnegie's Jacqueline Faherty has discovered the first evidence of water ice clouds on an object outside of our own Solar System. Water ice clouds exist on our own gas giant planets -- Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune -- but have not been seen outside of the planets orbiting our Sun until now. (2014-09-09)

Orion rocks! Pebble-size particles may jump-start planet formation
Astronomers using the National Science Foundation's Green Bank Telescope have discovered that filaments of star-forming gas near the Orion Nebula may be brimming with pebble-size particles -- planetary building blocks 100 to 1,000 times larger than the dust grains typically found around protostars. (2014-08-27)

Toothpaste fluorine formed in stars
The fluorine that is found in products such as toothpaste was likely formed billions of years ago in now dead stars of the same type as our sun. This has been shown by astronomers at Lund University in Sweden, together with colleagues from Ireland and the USA. (2014-08-21)

Solar salad, anyone?
An Arizona State University alumna has devised the largest catalog ever produced for stellar compositions. The work is critical to understanding the properties of stars, how they form, and possible connections with orbiting planets. And what she found from her work is that the compositions of nearby stars aren't as uniform as once thought. (2014-08-18)

New discovery: Microbes create dripstones
According to new research humble, microscopic organisms can create dripstones in caves. This illustrates how biological life can influence the formation of Earth's geology -- and the same may be happening right now on other planets in space. (2014-08-18)

Follow the radio waves to exomoons, UT Arlington physicists say
In a paper published by The Astrophysical Journal, researchers from The University of Texas at Arlington suggest following radio wave emissions to find exomoons. (2014-08-11)

Water 'microhabitats' in oil show potential for extraterrestrial life, oil cleanup
An international team of researchers has found extremely small habitats that increase the potential for life on other planets while offering a way to clean up oil spills on our own. Looking at samples from the world's largest natural asphalt lake, they found active microbes in droplets as small as a microliter, which is about 1/50th of a drop of water. (2014-08-07)

A hellacious two weeks on Jupiter's moon Io
During a year-long series of observations of Jupiter's volcanically active moon, Io, UC Berkeley astronomers Imke de Pater and graduate student Katherine de Kleer observed within a two week period in August 2013 three of the largest outbursts ever seen on the moon, all probably involving lava erupting through fissures in curtains of fire. The observations by the Keck and Gemini telescopes in Hawaii suggest that outbursts are more common than previously thought. (2014-08-01)

Companion planets can increase old worlds' chance at life
Having a companion in old age is good for people -- and, it turns out, might extend the chance for life on certain Earth-sized planets in the cosmos as well. (2014-07-31)

Young binary star system may form planets with weird and wild orbits
While surveying a series of binary stars with ALMA, astronomers uncovered a striking pair of wildly misaligned planet-forming disks in the young binary star system HK Tau. (2014-07-30)

Mercury's magnetic field tells scientists how its interior is different from Earth's
Mercury's interior is different from the Earth's interior in a way that explains Mercury's bizarre magnetic field, UCLA planetary physicists report. (2014-07-29)

Highest-precision measurement of water in planet outside the solar system
The discovery of water vapour in the atmospheres of three exoplanets includes the most precise measurement of any chemical in a planet outside the solar system, and has major implications for planet formation and the search for water on Earth-like habitable exoplanets in future. (2014-07-24)

Astronomers come up dry in search for water on exoplanets
A team of astronomers has made the most precise measurements yet of water vapor in the atmospheres of Jupiter-like planets beyond our solar system and found between ten and a thousand times less water vapor than what models predict. (2014-07-24)

Hubble finds 3 surprisingly dry exoplanets
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have gone looking for water vapor in the atmospheres of three planets orbiting stars similar to the sun -- and have come up nearly dry. (2014-07-24)

A new approach in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence: targeting alien polluters
Humanity is on the threshold of being able to detect signs of alien life on other worlds. By studying exoplanet atmospheres, we can look for gases like oxygen and methane that only coexist if replenished by life. But those gases come from simple life forms like microbes. What about advanced civilizations? Would they leave any detectable signs? They might, if they spew industrial pollution into the atmosphere. (2014-07-23)

Transiting exoplanet with longest known year
Astronomers have discovered a transiting exoplanet with the longest known year. Kepler-421b circles its star once every 704 days. In comparison, Mars orbits our sun once every 780 days. Most of the 1,800-plus exoplanets discovered to date are much closer to their stars and have much shorter orbital periods. (2014-07-21)

UEA research shows oceans vital for possibility for alien life
Researchers at the University of East Anglia have made an important step in the race to discover whether other planets could develop and sustain life. New research published today in the journal Astrobiology shows the vital role of oceans in moderating climate on Earth-like planets. Until now, computer simulations of habitable climates on Earth-like planets have focused on their atmospheres. But the presence of oceans is vital for optimal climate stability and habitability. (2014-07-20)

Peering into giant planets from in and out of this world
Lawrence Livermore scientists for the first time have experimentally re-created the conditions that exist deep inside giant planets, such as Jupiter, Uranus and many of the planets recently discovered outside our solar system. (2014-07-17)

Asteroid Vesta to reshape theories of planet formation
EPFL researchers have a better understanding of the asteroid Vesta and its internal structure, thanks to numerical simulations and data from the space mission Dawn. Their findings, published today in Nature, question contemporary models of rocky planet formation, including that of Earth. (2014-07-16)

Sun-like stars reveal their ages
A new technique for measuring the age of a star using its spin -- gyrochronology -- is coming into its own. Today astronomers are presenting the gyrochronological ages of 22 sun-like stars. Before this, only two sun-like stars had measured spins and ages. (2014-07-10)

NASA finds friction from tides could help distant earths survive, and thrive
As anybody who has started a campfire by rubbing sticks knows, friction generates heat. Now, computer modeling by NASA scientists shows that friction could be the key to survival for some distant Earth-sized planets traveling in dangerous orbits. (2014-07-09)

Cosmic grains of dust formed in supernova explosion
There are billions of stars and planets in the universe. The planets are formed in dust clouds that swirled around a newly formed star. But where does the cosmic dust come from? New research from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University shows that not only can grains of dust form in gigantic supernova explosions, they can also survive the subsequent shockwaves they are exposed to. (2014-07-09)

Planet Mercury a result of early hit-and-run collisions
New simulations show that Mercury and other unusually metal-rich objects in the solar system may be relics left behind by hit-and-run collisions in the early solar system. (2014-07-08)

Controversial clues of 2 'Goldilocks planets' that might support life are proven false
Mysteries about controversial signals from a star considered a prime target in the search for extraterrestrial life now have been solved. The research proves, for the first time, that some of the signals actually are from events inside the star itself, not from the two so-called 'Goldilocks planets,' which were suspected to be just-right for life and orbiting the star at a distance where liquid water potentially could exist. No planets there, just star burps. (2014-07-03)

Discovery expands search for Earth-like planets
A newly discovered planet in a binary star system located 3,000 light-years from Earth is expanding astronomers' notions of where Earth-like -- and even potentially habitable -- planets can form, and how to find them. (2014-07-03)

Hunt for extraterrestrial life gets massive methane boost
A powerful new model to detect life on planets outside of our solar system, more accurately than ever before, has been developed by UCL researchers. The new model focuses on methane, the simplest organic molecule, widely acknowledged to be a sign of potential life. (2014-06-16)

Cracks in Pluto's moon could indicate it once had an underground ocean
If the icy surface of Pluto's giant moon Charon is cracked, analysis of the fractures could reveal if its interior was warm, perhaps warm enough to have maintained a subterranean ocean of liquid water, according to a new NASA-funded study. (2014-06-13)

Two planets orbit nearby ancient star
An international team of astronomers, including five Carnegie scientists, reports the discovery of two new planets orbiting a very old star that is near to our own sun. One of these planets orbits the star at the right distance to allow liquid water to exist on its surface, a key ingredient to support life. (2014-06-03)

Astronomers discover ancient worlds from another galaxy next door
An international team of scientists, led by astronomers at Queen Mary University of London, report of two new planets orbiting Kapteyn's star, one of the oldest stars found near the Sun. One of the newly-discovered planets could be ripe for life as it orbits at the right distance to the star to allow liquid water on its surface. (2014-06-03)

Because you can't eat just one: Star will swallow two planets
Two worlds orbiting a distant star are about to become a snack of cosmic proportions. Astronomers announced today that the planets Kepler-56b and Kepler-56c will be swallowed by their star in a short time by astronomical standards. Their ends will come in 130 million and 155 million years, respectively. (2014-06-02)

'Neapolitan' exoplanets come in three flavors
The planets of our solar system come in two basic flavors, like vanilla and chocolate ice cream. We have small, rocky terrestrials like Earth and Mars, and large gas giants like Neptune and Jupiter. We're missing the astronomical equivalent of strawberry ice cream -- planets between about one and four times the size of Earth. (2014-06-02)

Astronomers find a new type of planet: The 'mega-Earth'
Astronomers announced today that they have discovered a new type of planet -- a rocky world weighing 17 times as much as Earth. Theorists believed such a world couldn't form because anything so hefty would grab hydrogen gas as it grew and become a Jupiter-like gas giant. This planet, though, is all solids and much bigger than previously discovered 'super-Earths,' making it a 'mega-Earth.' (2014-06-02)

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