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Astronomers Sniff the Atmosphere of a Hellish Super-Earth For the First Time

For the first time, astronomers have detected gases in the atmosphere of a super Earth, a planet larger than our own but small enough to be rocky. The fittingly named “55 Cancri e” is a broiling hellscape of a world, totally inhospitable to life as we know it. And yet, the milestone represents an important step toward…

Meet Dulcinea, Poltergeist and 29 Other Planets Just Named By Popular Vote

Earlier this year, the International Astronomical Union asked us to vote on the names for 32 exoplanets orbiting 15 stars. This could have been a trainwreck, but the planet christening actually went pretty smoothly. Now, with half a million votes tallied from 182 countries, a handful of celestial bodies have shiny new…

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