The Lick Observatory's Newest Telescope Is an Exoplanet Hunting Robot

Exoplanets—planets orbiting stars that aren't our Sun—seem to be popping out of the cosmic woodwork now that we know where and how to look for them. The Kepler mission alone has discovered 961 of them, and it's only looking at a tiny sliver of distant space. Just think of how many we'll find when the new James Lick… » 3/28/14 5:40pm 3/28/14 5:40pm

The Worst Blunders People Make in Inventing Fictional Alien Worlds

We love stories that take us to alien planets and let us explore whole new environments. But not every alien planet is totally realistic, especially given how much we've learned about exoplanets lately. So we asked six experts to tell us the biggest mistakes they see in fictional habitable worlds — and here's what they … » 2/20/14 5:40pm 2/20/14 5:40pm

The Objects in Space That We Really, Really Can't Explain

Forget UFOs — there are a lot of objects and events in space that are identified, but still completely incomprehensible. From planets in our solar system, to inexplicable energy bursts from across the universe, here are some of the enduring mysteries of the space and time we call home. » 1/02/14 5:33pm 1/02/14 5:33pm

Astronomers Figured Out How to Weigh Entire Planets Using Starlight

Weighing a planet is a tough task. I mean, it's not like you can just put them on a bathroom scale. And, while astronomers figured out how to measure the mass of planets in our solar system a long time ago, it's practically impossible to weigh exoplanets. Well, it was until recently. » 12/19/13 5:20pm 12/19/13 5:20pm

One in Five Sun-Like Stars Has Earth-Size Planets in Habitable Zone

The odds of finding a habitable planet elsewhere in the universe just get better and better. A new study claims that one in five Sun-like stars has an Earth-size planet in the habitable zone. That adds up to about 20 billion Earth-size planets in the Milky Way alone. » 11/04/13 5:20pm 11/04/13 5:20pm

Scientists Found the Remains of a Water-Covered Earth-Like Planet

A team of astrophysicists have made an exciting however complex discovery a mere 170 light years away. In their own words, it's "the first evidence of a water-rich rocky planetary body" outside of our own solar system to have evidence of water. It's the "rocky" bit that makes it Earth-like. » 10/10/13 4:20pm 10/10/13 4:20pm

If You Named A Planet Recently You Probably Didn't, You Know,…

The International Astronomical Union is sitting down with the Internet to have a little talk. Just because some kids on the playground say they'll let you name an exoplanet for $5 doesn't mean you should give them $5. First of all they're not the boss of you, and second of all they have nothing to do with planet-naming » 4/14/13 1:15pm 4/14/13 1:15pm

Scientists Find a Planet Similar to Mars Outside Our Solar System

Someone call John Lithgow and pull French Stewart out of storage, a team of astronomers using the Kepler telescope have discovered the smallest exoplanets, in the tiniest solar system, so far. And their existence may show that our solar system isn't all that unique. » 1/12/12 1:00am 1/12/12 1:00am