Exoplanet ocean currents may follow a pattern that scientists can use to track down life outside of our solar system. In search for alien life, planets exactly like Earth may not be best places to look, study finds. Researchers across the globe have long tackled the question: Is there life […]

Artist’s concept depicts Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone — a range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the planet’s surface. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that Earth-size planets exist in the habitable zones of other […]

Artist’s impression of the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanet system. Credit: NAOJ Astronomers using the Subaru Telescope have determined that the Earth-like planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system are not significantly misaligned with the rotation of the star. This is an important result for understanding the evolution of planetary systems around very low-mass stars […]

New research suggests that next-generation telescopes might look first for hydrogen atmospheres, as hydrogen can be a viable, easily detectable biosignature of life. When searching for extraterrestrial life, astronomers may want to look at planets with hydrogen-rich atmospheres. As new and more powerful telescopes blink on in the next few […]

This is an artist’s illustration of the Kepler-88 planetary system. Credit: W. M. Keck Observatory/Adam Makarenko Hawaii astronomer discovers massive extrasolar planet with Maunakea telescope. Our solar system has a king. The planet Jupiter, named for the most powerful god in the Greek pantheon, has bossed around the other planets through […]

WFIRST will make its microlensing observations in the direction of the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The higher density of stars will yield more exoplanet detections. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab The NASA mission will identify planets with large orbits, similar to our solar system’s far-flung giants, Uranus and Neptune. NASA’s Wide […]

An artist’s interpretation of the water-rich atmosphere of K2-18b. (Image credit: Alex Boersma) Three teams of astronomers have been fascinated by an alien world known as K2-18b. But what’s all the fuss about? In September, two teams announced that they had found signs of liquid water in the planet’s atmosphere — a landmark discovery […]