Weather can get pretty rough here on Earth, but there’s a rocky exoplanet located about 40 light-years away that features some of the most extreme temperature fluctuations ever seen by astronomers—reaching temperatures so high that lava flows directly on the surface.
A pair of new studies claim to have discovered two of the most distant objects ever seen in the outer reaches of the Solar System, including a “Super Earth” located six times further away than Pluto. It’s an extraordinary claim — and it’s also highly unlikely.
Yesterday, NASA’s Kepler team announced the discovery of the most Earth-like planet yet. It may be larger than Earth, but this exoplanet is situated firmly within its star’s habitable zone—and it’s been there for a while. So could it actually sustain life?
Earlier today, during the announcement of the most Earth-like planet ever discovered, researchers working on the Kepler mission released an updated catalog—which now includes 521 new candidate planets. Add that to the 4,175 already discovered by the space-based telescope.
It may be a terrestrial planet, but the changing atmospheric conditions on the so-called “Diamond Planet” are absolutely nothing like what we experience here on Earth.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that our Solar System — with its inner collection of small rocky planets and an outer region buffeted by gas planets — is quite uncommon. According to a remarkable new study, the reason may have to do with Jupiter and an ancient migratory journey that kickstarted the destruction of…
In May 2013, NASA's exoplanet-seeking spacecraft, Kepler, seemed doomed. Two of four wheels that stabilized its telescope had malfunctioned—and NASA appealed to scientists from around the world for ideas to salvage its mission. Yesterday, it announced the discovery of a brand-new super-Earth 180 light years from our…
Prior to the discovery of exoplanets, astronomers assumed that our solar system's configuration was typical. But now, some 1,715 exoplanets later, we know that we're far from ordinary. So what passes for "normal" in the annals of solar systems? Here's what we know now.
The Milky Way appears to be peppered with so-called Super-Earths — distant exoplanets that are between two to 10 Earth masses. Many of them have even been detected within habitable zones. But a new study shows it doesn't matter. They're all just dead worlds.
A pair of Chicago-based astronomers have some good news for you alien-hunters out there. Despite previous assumptions, geophysics tell us that large Earth-like exoplanets (a.k.a. super-Earths) likely have both oceans and exposed continents. That means more Earth-like climates, too.
To date, astronomers have catalogued over 1,000 exoplanets — some of them rocky and parked within their host star's habitable zone. But a good portion of these planets are bigger than Earth, prompting us to ask: What would it actually be like on a habitable planet twice the size of ours?
When it comes to detecting and cataloguing exoplanets, astronomers have only just begun. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that an entirely new class of planets may have been discovered — Neptune-like planets that were stripped of their outer gaseous layers after venturing too close to their sun.
Among the 860 exoplanets documented so far, a good portion of them are so-called super-Earths — planets that feature a mass greater than Earth's, but lower than our solar system's smaller gas giants, namely Uranus and Neptune (both of which are about 15 Earth masses). And as the name implies, some of these…