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Jupiter-like planets could form around twin suns
Life on a planet ruled by two suns might be a little complicated. Two sunrises, two sunsets. Twice the radiation field. Joel Kastner and his team suggest that planets may easily form around certain types of twin star systems. A disk of molecules discovered orbiting a pair of twin young suns in the constellation Sagittarius strongly suggests that many such binary systems also host planets. (2009-01-05)

Astronomy student discovers 17 new planets, including Earth-sized world
University of British Columbia astronomy student Michelle Kunimoto has discovered 17 new planets, including a potentially habitable, Earth-sized world, by combing through data gathered by NASA's Kepler mission. (2020-02-27)

Astronomers discover third planet in the Kepler-47 circumbinary system
The SDSU-led research has been published in the Astronomical Journal. (2019-04-16)

Runaway planets zoom at a fraction of light speed
Seven years ago, astronomers boggled when they found the first runaway star flying out of our Galaxy at a speed of 1.5 million miles per hour. The discovery intrigued theorists, who wondered: if a star can get tossed outward at such an extreme velocity, could the same thing happen to planets? New research shows that the answer is yes. (2012-03-22)

Do Giant Planets Form Quickly Or Slowly?
Carnegie's Alan Boss suggests that by looking for wobbles in young stars, astronomers can determine the mechanism by which giant planets form around them. (1998-05-14)

Scientists model a cornucopia of Earth-sized planets
In the Star Wars movies fictional planets are covered with forests, oceans, deserts, and volcanoes. But new models from a team of MIT, NASA, and Carnegie scientists begin to describe an even wider range of Earth-size planets that astronomers might actually be able to find in the near future. (2007-09-24)

Planets can form around different types of stars
It had previously been thought that planets were more likely to form around a star if the star had a high content of heavier elements. But new research from University of Copenhagen, shows that small planets can form around very different types of stars -- also stars that are relatively poor in heavy elements. This significantly increases the likelihood that Earth-like planets are widespread in the universe. The results are published in the scientific journal, Nature. (2012-06-13)

Astronomers, Iowa State's Kawaler discover planets that survived their star's expansion
NASA's Kepler Mission has helped astronomers discover two Earth-sized planets that survived their star's red-giant expansion. The discovery is published in the Dec. 22 edition of the journal Nature. (2011-12-21)

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)

Astronomer Bennett's team discovers new class of planets
University of Notre Dame astronomer David Bennett is co-author of a new paper describing the discovery of a new class of planets -- dark, isolated Jupiter-mass bodies floating alone in space, far from any host star. Bennett and the team of astronomers involved in the discovery believe that the planets were most likely ejected from developing planetary systems. (2011-05-18)

At least 1 in 6 stars has an Earth-sized planet
The quest for a twin Earth is heating up. Using NASA's Kepler spacecraft, astronomers are beginning to find Earth-sized planets orbiting distant stars. A new analysis of Kepler data shows that about 17 percent of stars have an Earth-sized planet in an orbit closer than Mercury. Since the Milky Way has about 100 billion stars, there are at least 17 billion Earth-sized worlds out there. (2013-01-07)

Exomoons may be home to extra-terrestrial life
Computer simulations were run to calculate whether a moon orbiting outside the ring system of J1407b caused gaps. Computer simulations were run to calculate whether a moon orbiting outside the ring system of J1407b caused gaps. It was found they were unlikely to be caused by a moon orbiting outside the ring system. Identifying exomoons may be a promising avenue for finding extra-terrestrial life, as they can be internally heated from the gravitational forces exerted by the planet they orbit. (2019-06-04)

Notre Dame astrophysicist discovers 5-planet system like Earth
Researchers for the first time have identified Earth-sized planets within the habitable zone of a sun-like star. Images of the star taken by Notre Dame astrophysicist Justin Crepp rule out alternative explanations of the data, confirming that five planets orbit Kepler 62, with two located in the habitable zone. (2013-04-18)

'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)

Birth of a planet
The Earth and the planets of our solar system are not alone in the universe. Over the past few decades, the hunt for extrasolar planets has yielded incredible discoveries, and now planetary researchers have a new tool -- simulated models of how planets are born. (2012-09-04)

Media invited to 'Signposts of Planets' meeting at NASA Goddard
The search for planets orbiting distant stars is among the most exciting in astrophysics. In less than two decades, astronomers have discovered more than 600 bona-fide exoplanets, with hundreds of additional candidates still being studied. (2011-10-11)

Planet-formation model indicates Earthlike planets might be common
New modeling of planet formation near a sun finds that each of 44 simulations produced one to four Earthlike planets, including 11 so-called (2003-12-10)

Giant planets around young star raise questions about how planets form
Researchers have identified a young star with four Jupiter and Saturn-sized planets in orbit around it, the first time that so many massive planets have been detected in such a young system. The system has also set a new record for the most extreme range of orbits yet observed: the outermost planet is more than a thousand times further from the star than the innermost one, which raises interesting questions about how such a system might have formed. (2018-10-15)

Astronomers predict bombardment from asteroids and comets in another planetary system
The planetary system around star HR8799 is remarkably similar to our Solar System. A research team led by astronomers from the University of Groningen and SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research has used this similarity to model the delivery of materials by asteroids, comets and other minor bodies within the system. Their simulation shows that the four gas planets receive material delivered by minor bodies, just like in our Solar System. (2020-05-29)

Rogue planets could outnumber the stars
An upcoming NASA mission could find that there are more rogue planets - planets that float in space without orbiting a sun - than there are stars in the Milky Way, a new study theorizes. (2020-08-21)

IAU 2006 General Assembly: Result of the IAU resolution votes
It is official: The 26th General Assembly for the International Astronomical Union was an astounding success! More than 2500 astronomers participated in six symposia, 17 joint discussions, seven special sessions and four special sessions. New science results were vigorously discussed, new international collaborations were initiated, plans for future facilities put forward and much more. (2006-08-25)

The Milky Way may be swarming with planets with oceans and continents like here on Earth
According to a new study from the University of Copenhagen, Earth, Venus and Mars were created from small dust particles containing ice and carbon. The discovery opens up the possibility that the Milky Way may be filled with aquatic planets. (2021-02-22)

Kepler's astounding haul of multiple-planet systems
NASA's Kepler spacecraft is proving itself to be a prolific planet hunter. Within just the first four months of data, astronomers have found evidence for more than 1,200 planetary candidates. Of those, 408 reside in systems containing two or more planets, and most of those look very different than our solar system. (2011-05-24)

The stuff that planets are made of
UZH researchers have analyzed the composition and structure of faraway exoplanets using statistical tools. Their analysis indicates whether a planet is earth-like, made up of pure rock or a water-world. The larger the planet, the more hydrogen and helium surround it. (2018-10-09)

Giant planet ejected from the solar system
Just as an expert chess player sacrifices a piece to protect the queen, the solar system may have given up a giant planet and spared the Earth, according to an article recently published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. (2011-11-10)

Earth-like planets have Earth-like interiors
Every school kid learns the basic structure of the Earth: a thin outer crust, a thick mantle, and a Mars-sized core. But is this structure universal? Will rocky exoplanets orbiting other stars have the same three layers? New research suggests that the answer is yes -- they will have interiors very similar to Earth. (2016-02-08)

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)

Simulations explain giant exoplanets with eccentric, close-in orbits
As planetary systems evolve, gravitational interactions between planets can fling some of them into eccentric elliptical orbits around the host star. Smaller planets should be more susceptible to this gravitational scattering, yet many gas giant exoplanets have been observed with eccentric orbits. In fact, the planets with the highest masses tend to be those with the most eccentric orbits. A new study explains these counter-intuitive observations. (2019-10-30)

Distant moons may harbor life
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside and the University of Southern Queensland have identified more than 100 giant planets that potentially host moons capable of supporting life. Their work will guide the design of future telescopes that can detect these potential moons and look for tell-tale signs of life, called biosignatures, in their atmospheres. (2018-06-14)

ALMA sheds light on planet-forming gas streams
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope have seen a key stage in the birth of giant planets for the first time. Vast streams of gas are flowing across a gap in the disc of material around a young star. These are the first direct observations of such streams, which are expected to be created by giant planets guzzling gas as they grow. (2013-01-02)

Astronomers find 2 large planets, plus possible super-Earth-size one
A team of three University of Florida astronomers contributed to the Kepler spacecraft's discovery of two Saturn-sized planets, plus a possible third planet with a radius just one-and-a-half times that of Earth, orbiting a distant star. (2010-08-26)

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)

What kinds of stars form rocky planets?
As astronomers continue to find more and more planets around stars beyond our own Sun, they are trying to discover patterns and features that indicate what types of planets are likely to form around different kinds of stars. This will hopefully inform and make more efficient the ongoing planet hunting process, and also help us better understand our own Solar System's formation. (2015-12-03)

The case of the over-tilting exoplanets
For almost a decade, astronomers have tried to explain why so many pairs of planets outside our solar system have an odd configuration -- their orbits seem to have been pushed apart by a powerful unknown mechanism. Yale researchers say they've found a possible answer, and it implies that the planets' poles are majorly tilted. (2019-03-04)

Nomads of the galaxy
A recent study proposes the galaxy is crowded with nomad planets adrift in space. If this is the case, nomad planets may play a dynamic role in the universe. (2012-05-23)

UEA research reveals 'topsy turvy' ocean circulation on distant planets
The salt levels of oceans on distant Earth-like planets could have a major effect on their climates. A study published today reveals that the circulation in extremely salty or fresh water extra-terrestrial seas would influence their temperatures -- and could in fact make for more habitable conditions for alien life. (2016-04-04)

Universe's first life might have been born on carbon planets
Our Earth consists of silicate rocks and an iron core with a thin veneer of water and life. But the first potentially habitable worlds to form might have been very different. New research suggests that planet formation in the early universe might have created carbon planets consisting of graphite, carbides, and diamond. Astronomers might find these diamond worlds by searching a rare class of stars. (2016-06-07)

Science nugget: Lightning signature could help reveal the solar system's origins
An electromagnetic signature, known as Schumann Resonance, had only been observed from Earth's surface until, in 2011, scientists discovered they could also detect it using NASA's Vector Electric Field Instrument (VEFI) aboard the US Air Force's Communications /Navigation Outage Forecast System (C/NOFS) satellite. (2012-05-03)

Young planets with teenage sun give space studies a lift
Researchers find a new planetary system made up of at least three neighboring planets, ranging in size between that of Earth and Neptune, that orbit the same sun. (2021-02-12)

Water worlds could support life, study says
The conditions for life surviving on planets entirely covered in water are more fluid than previously thought, opening up the possibility that water worlds could be habitable, according to a new paper from the University of Chicago and Pennsylvania State University. (2018-08-31)

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