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Ten Extreme Exoplanets

planet 9 - pixabay

It’s almost hard to believe that until the early years of the 1990s, astronomers had yet to discover a planet outside the solar system. Even though scientists were certain that other stars orbited other stars, there was little evidence of other planetary systems until the discovery of two extrasolar planets — or exoplanets — orbiting the pulsar PSR 1257+12 in 1992 by Aleksander Wolszczan and Dale Frail, as logged in the journal Nature. This initial discovery was soon followed by the observation of 51 Pegasi b — the first exoplanet discovered around a sun-like star — in 1995, for which … Read more

Scientists May have Detected Radio Emissions from An Alien World

Radio Telescope - Deposit Photos

Scientists may have detected radio emissions from a planet orbiting a star beyond our sun for the first time. The astronomers behind the new research used a radio telescope in the Netherlands to study three different stars known to host exoplanets. The researchers compared what they saw to observations of Jupiter, diluted as if being seen from a star system dozens of light-years away. And one star system stood out: Tau Boötes, which contains at least one exoplanet. If the detection holds up, it could open the door to better understanding the magnetic fields of exoplanets and therefore the exoplanets … Read more

SPACE: Bizarre Planet Might Have Vaporized Rock for “Air”

Red Planet - pixabay

Scientists think they have identified a lava world so dramatic that it might boast a thin regional atmosphere of vaporized rock where it is closest to its star. That exoplanet is called K2-141b and was originally discovered in 2017. The world is about half again as big as Earth but orbits so close to its star, which is one class smaller than our own, that it completes several loops each Earth-day with the same surface permanently facing the star. Now, scientists predict those factors mean that two-thirds of the surface of K2-141b is permanently sunlit — so much so that … Read more

SPACE: heavy-Metal Planet May Be Football-Shaped

Heavy Metal Football Planet - NASA

An exoplanet may be shaped like an American football due to the mighty gravitational forces it experiences close to its star, a new study finds. Scientists investigated KOI 1843.03, an exoplanet candidate that scientists need further observations to say for sure is real. This world putatively orbits a red dwarf star with slightly less than half the mass of our sun and is located about 395 light-years from Earth. Previous research found KOI 1843.03 was about 44% Earth’s mass and 60% Earth’s diameter. Prior work suggested KOI 1843.03 orbited its star more closely than any other planet known yet. “Whizzing … Read more

SPACE: Could This Exoplanet Support Life?

exoplanet - Credit: Jack Madden/Cornell University

Astronomers have found a nearby “super-Earth” exoplanet that may be capable of supporting life as we know it. An international group of astronomers discovered the planet using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) earlier this year in the constellation Hydra, about 31 light-years from Earth, according to a statement by NASA. (One light-year is the distance light travels in a year, about 6 trillion miles, or 10 trillion kilometers.) The exoplanet, named GJ 357 d, is believed to be around twice the size of Earth and harbor six times Earth’s mass. Located in the outer edge of its host star’s … Read more

SPACE: Could Nearby Exoplanet Harbor Life?


There’s a rocky planet out there that’s very big and cold. Its sun, a red dwarf named “Barnard’s star” looks much larger in its sky than Earth’s. It bathes the planet in X-rays and ultraviolet light, likely enough radiation to strip away any atmosphere. But Barnard’s star is also much dimmer than Earth’s host star, so the planet’s surface is probably a frozen wasteland — the sort of place that likely wouldn’t have any liquid water, and that most scientists wouldn’t expect to support life. But a new analysis suggests that the planet, named Barnard B, might give rise to … Read more

SPACE: Is There a Large Exoplanet in the Neighborhood?


Sitting about 6 light-years away from our sun, the red dwarf named Barnard’s star is the nearest solitary star to our solar system and the fastest-moving star in our night sky. It’s also really wobbly. Chalk up the wobbles to old age if you like: The star may have been born some 10 billion years ago — making it more than twice the age of our sun — and it has only 16 percent of the sun’s mass. But astronomers prefer a different explanation. A new paper published today (Nov. 14) in the journal Nature combines 20 years of research … Read more

SPACE: Closest Exoplanet to Earth Could Be ‘Highly Habitable’

Proxima Centauri b - NASA

Just a cosmic hop, skip and jump away, an Earth-size planet orbits the closest star to our sun, Proxima Centauri. Ever since the discovery of the exoplanet — known as Proxima Centauri b— in 2016, people have wondered whether it could be capable of sustaining life. Now, using computer models similar to those used to study climate change on Earth, researchers have found that, under a wide range of conditions, Proxima Centauri b can sustain enormous areas of liquid water on its surface, potentially raising its prospects for harboring living organisms. “The major message from our simulations is that there’s … Read more