Posts tagged exoplanet
The past year has seen announcements of some of the most Earth-like planets yet discovered, and even a small planet around one of the two stars in Alpha Centauri, our nearest neighboring star system. But in all of this, there’s been one thing in the back of our minds that has been sitting slightly uncomfortably: 25 light-years away lies Fomalhaut b, a planet that has been the cause of an astronomical altercation.
Fomalhaut b has been reanimated! Read more…
The American Astronomical Society (AAS) conference is in full swing in Long Beach, Calif., and this morning’s sessions can be summarized as follows: There’s more exoplanets than you can shake an exostick at.
Earth-Sized Alien Worlds Orbit One in Six Stars: About 17 percent — one in six — of Kepler’s target stars have Earth-sized worlds orbiting closer to their parent stars than where Mercury orbits the sun.
did we just find a habitable super-Earth?! Yup!
Scientists added three new planets to three discovered in 2008 orbiting an orange star called HD 40307, which is roughly three-quarters as massive as the sun and located about 42 light-years away in the constellation Pictor.
Of particular interest is the outermost planet, which is believed to fly around its parent star over 320 days, a distance that places it within HD 40307’s so-called “habitable zone.”
“All we know at this point is that it has a minimum mass of about 7.1 Earth-masses. We have no explicit follow-up planned, thought the HARPS team is probably still gathering more data, and may in the future be able to confirm these results, and perhaps add even more planets to the brood,” astronomer Steven Vogt, with the University of California’s Lick Observatory, wrote in an email to Discovery News.
Based on our experience with other star systems this newly discovered planet is likely made of rock and may contain water. It receives 62 percent of the radiation from its star that Earth receives from the sun, but Earth is relatively near to the leading edge of the habitable zone.
The family of planets circling a relatively close dwarf star has grown to six, including a potential rocky world at least seven times more massive than Earth that is properly located for liquid water to exist on its surface, a condition believed to be necessary for life.
One thing’s for sure, gravity on that planet will suck.
Forget simply detecting a slight “dip” in brightness as an exoplanet transits in front of its star, soon we’ll be able to image the event. What’s more, by doing this we’ll see that exoplanetary transits look exactly like the historic Venus transit that wowed the world on Tuesday.
This is according to astronomer Gerard van Belle, of Lowell Observatory near Flagstaff, Ariz., who hopes to use an interferometer to carry out the mind-blowing goal of capturing the silhouettes of exoplanets drifting in front of distant stars. But that’s not all, this whole effort may help us track down the first bona fide Earth-like alien world.
Image: Left: A photograph of the Venus transit on June 5, 2012 (Ian O’Neill). Right: An artist’s impression of an exoplanet transit (ESO).
Scientists using the awesome power of the twin 10-meter Keck Telescopes managed to spot the infrared signal of a young exoplanet orbiting the star LkCa 15. The exoplanet — LkCa 15 b — is the youngest world ever to be directly imaged.
Portrait of a Super Planet: HD 85512b
A world called “HD 85512b,” with a mass of 3.6 Earths, and an orbital period of 54 days hardly evokes thoughts of anything even vaguely familiar to our planet. But with these few characteristics, astronomers using HARPS have deduced that although it’s more massive than Earth, HD 85512b has a few potentially Earth-like qualities.
Most critically, HD 85512b orbits its star just within its habitable zone.
ODDBALL EXOPLANET IS DARKER THAN COAL
An alien world reflects less than one percent of the starlight that falls on it, making it the blackest exoplanet known.
The strange world, TrES-2b, is a gas giant the size of Jupiter, rather than a solid, rocky body like Earth or Mars, astronomers said.
It closely orbits the star GSC 03549-02811, located about 750 light years away in the direction of the constellation of Draco the Dragon.
“TrES-2b is considerably less reflective than black acrylic paint, so it’s truly an alien world,” David Kipping of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said in a press release issued by Britain’s Royal Astronomical Society (RAS).