Planet or Star? Either Way, This Rogue Object Is Really Weird

Various news outlets have been discussing a strange object in space, which may or may not be a planet. New measurements show that what was thought to be a brown dwarf—essentially a “failed star” that is too small to generate nuclear fusion, but too big to be a planet—might be a planet after all. But that’s far from…

NASA's Kepler Space Telescope Not Dead Yet, May Even Have Another Exoplanet Survey Left in It

NASA’s $600 million Kepler space telescope, which is more or less running on thruster fuel fumes nearly a decade after its launch in 2009, woke up from a four-week hibernation phase on Thursday and is transmitting data back to Earth, Space.com reported on Friday. If all goes well, it may even be capable of continuing…

New Analysis of Potentially Habitable Exoplanet Makes Us Hungry for Better Telescopes 

Eleven light-years from Earth, orbiting a dim red star, there’s an exoplanet called Ross 128b that, as we recently reported, has some the best prospects for life of any known distant world. New results may help astronomers figure out what the planet is made of—and they offer more evidence that it might be inside its…

NASA's Kepler Space Telescope Is Running Out of Fuel and May Not Have Much More Time

NASA’s storied Kepler Space Telescope—the craft which has discovered thousands of exoplanets since its launch in 2009—is entering the retirement phase of its lifespan. NASA announced on Friday that Kepler staff had “received an indication that the spacecraft fuel tank is running very low” and “placed the spacecraft in…