06/03/2013 - 18:08

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope will have two opportunities in the next few years to hunt for Earth-sized planets around the red dwarf Proxima Centauri. The opportunities will occur in October 2014 and February 2016 when Proxima Centauri, the star nearest to our sun, passes in front of two other stars. Astronomers plotted Proxima Centauri's precise path in the heavens and predicted the two close encounters using data from Hubble.


05/03/2013 - 08:38

The discovery by Tim Kennelly, a University of Iowa junior majoring in physics and astronomy, is one of the first direct observations of seasonal changes in Saturn's magnetosphere. In addition, the finding carries over to all planets having a magnetosphere, including Earth.


03/14/2013 - 13:49

A team of international scientists including a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory astrophysicist has made the most detailed examination yet of the atmosphere of a Jupiter-size like planet beyond our solar system.


03/12/2013 - 20:01

Thanks to a new high-tech gadget, astronomers have observed four planets orbiting a star relatively close to the sun in unprecedented detail, revealing the roughly ten-Jupiter-mass planets to be among the most exotic ones known.


01/07/2013 - 13:23

Comets trailing wispy tails across the night sky are a beautiful byproduct of our solar system’s formation, icy leftovers from 4.6 billion years ago when the planets coalesced from rocky rubble.

11/19/2012 - 09:40

Capturing an image of extrasolar planets is difficult: the celestial bodies are very far away, relatively small and drown in the light of their parent star. Despite this, a team of researchers, including several from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, has successfully captured an image of a “super-Jupiter” which orbits the star Kappa Andromedae. The gas giant has roughly 13 times the mass of Jupiter, while the parent star has 2.5 times the mass of the Sun. This planet probably formed in a similar way to ordinary, lower-mass planets: in a “protoplanetary disk” of gas and dust. This makes the planet an important test case for current models of how planets are born.