Tag Archives: exoplanets


Super-Earth LHS 1140b Has Scientists Excited about Possible Alien Life

Scientists have found a ‘super-Earth’ exoplanet in the habitable zone of LHS 1140, a red dwarf in the constellation of Cetus, located about 40 light-years away from Earth.

This artist's impression shows two Earth-sized worlds passing in front of their parent red dwarf star, which is much smaller and cooler than our Sun. The star and its orbiting planets TRAPPIST-1b and TRAPPIST-1c reside 40 light-years away. The planets are between 20 and 100 times closer to their star than Earth is to the Sun. Researchers think that at least one of the planets, and possibly both, may be within the star's habitable zone, where moderate temperatures could allow for liquid water on the surface. Hubble looked for evidence of extended atmospheres around both planets and didn't find anything. Link:  NASA Press release

The Virtual Planetary Laboratory Knows It Takes a Village to Model a Planet

The Virtual Planetary Laboratory is a unique project whose aim is to simulate the light from other worlds. Incorporating data from a variety of fields, the VPL’s models will allow scientists to interpret future telescope spectra and determine whether or not an alien planet has life.

This artist's concept appeared on the February 23rd, 2017 cover of the journal Nature announcing that the TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultra-cool dwarf, has seven Earth-size planets orbiting it. Any of these planets could have liquid water on them. Planets that are farther from the star are more likely to have significant amounts of ice, especially on the side that faces away from the star. 

The system has been revealed through observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the ground-based TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope) telescope, as well as other ground-based observatories. The system was named for the TRAPPIST telescope.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at Caltech/IPAC. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

Boasting 7 Earth-Sized Planets, TRAPPIST-1 Is the New Solar System to Know

For the first time, scientists spy seven Earth-sized planets around a single star, with three within the habitable zone.


The Discovery of Exoplanets Is as Old as Texting

The discovery of other planets in orbit around other stars is relatively recent–though we’ve been searching the skies for them for a very long time.


Cloudy With A Chance Of Rubies

Researchers believe exoplanet, HAT-P-7b’s, stormy clouds are comprised of corundum, the mineral associated here on Earth with rubies and sapphires.

Artist's impression of the planet orbiting Proxima Centauri

Could There Be Life on Our Neighbor, Proxima Centauri B?

While no one knows for sure yet if there’s life on the little planet called Proxima Centauri B, there are a number of promising factors that give us hope.

This artist's impression shows a view of the triple star system HD 131399 from close to the giant planet orbiting in the system. The planet is known as HD 131399Ab and appears at the lower-left of the picture.

This Jupiter-sized Exoplanet Lives In A Really Weird Place

Thanks to the convention-breaking work of a team of astronomers, we now know it’s possible for exoplanets in multi-star systems to have complex and exotic—yet stable—orbits.