In a universe full of planets, 2007 OR10 is something special. It’s big, just slightly smaller than the size of Pluto. And it’s close, within our very own solar system. So how did it still manage to take astronomers by surprise?
After an inexplicable shift into Emergency Mode, NASA managed to partially recover its planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft. But we still don’t know what caused it to wig out in the first place.
NASA’S Kepler Space telescope might have gotten a new lease on life in 2014 when scientists figured out how to repurpose the damaged telescope, but it now appears that it’s in trouble once again.
If you thought the Kepler spacecraft’s glory days were over, think again. Today at the 227th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, astronomers announced a whopping 234 new exoplanet candidates discovered by Kepler in 2014. The best part? All of them are just tens of light years away.
Astronomers are comparing it to Jupiter’s red spot: a forever storm large enough to swallow three Earths. Except this monster tempest appears to be raging on a star.
Have you squared away all your summer vacation plans, yet? Why not a trip to this dark, airless—yet, still a little glamorous—outer world, as per the suggestion of NASA’s Travel Bureau?
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.
NASA’s Kepler Space telescope science team has just announced the discovery of the most Earth-like planet ever. Meet Kepler 452-b, the very first apparently rocky planet that orbits a sun-like star in the habitable zone.
For generations, humans have looked out at the night sky and wondered if they were alone in the universe. With the discovery of other planets in our Solar System, the true extent of the Milky Way galaxy, and other galaxies beyond our own, this question has only deepened and become more profound.
It now appears that Tatooine-like planets are far more common than previously thought. A new analysis of 1,000 known exoplanets shows that planets with two suns are an exceedingly frequent occurrence. But what does this say to the prevalence of life in our galaxy?
Astronomers have documented thousands of exoplanets to date, but they have yet to find one near the "frost line" — an important boundary in understanding how planets form. The discovery of Kepler-421b now changes that.
How special is our solar system? Is our sun unique? What about the number, arrangement, and composition of our planets – are they weird, or what astronomers expect to see? Is our planetary neighborhood "normal"? Perhaps more importantly, is there even such a thing as "normal," at the scale of the universe?
Every day we find more exoplanets. With bigger and better telescopes on the horizon, we'll have far more observations of these planets than ever before — and NASA scientists are optimistic we'll discover alien life within decades.
This visualization, created by UC Berkeley astronomer Alex Parker, is one of the most beautiful representation of alien worlds we've ever seen.
There are 1,780 confirmed planets that exist beyond our solar system. But of those planets, how likely are they to be able to support life?
Kepler is the plucky little spacecraft that taught us that planets are everywhere. It captured the imagination of farmers, citizen-scientists, and astronomers alike. This is the story of Kepler: a celebration of turning the theories of planetary science upside-down.
Here's some impressive planetary perspective: Last Wednesday, NASA's Kepler mission announced the discovery of 715 newly confirmed exoplanets, nearly doubling the total number of verified planets beyond our solar system. This animated graph, courtesy of NASA, helps put that discovery into context.