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Blog Archive

 

Wonderful potentially habitable worlds around TRAPPIST-1

Franck Marchis • February 22, 2017

Scientists have found seven, Earth-size planets orbiting a star just 40 light years away. Three lie in the habitable zone and could have water on their surfaces.

Dynamics of Exoplanet Systems

Erika Nesvold • October 31, 2016

At this year’s Division for Planetary Sciences/European Planetary Science Congress meeting, the Exoplanet Dynamics session was packed full of talks on tightly-packed multi-planet systems and their instabilities.

Proxima Centauri b: Have we just found Earth’s cousin right on our doorstep?

Franck Marchis • August 24, 2016

What began as a tantalizing rumor has just become an astonishing fact. Today a group of thirty-one scientists announced the discovery of a terrestrial exoplanet orbiting Proxima Centauri. The discovery of this planet, Proxima Centauri b, is a huge breakthrough not just for astronomers but for all of us. Here’s why.

Whither the Weather? A Jet Stream Explainer

Anna Scott • June 07, 2016

Jet streams are found in planetary atmospheres throughout our solar system. But what exactly are they?

Atmospheric Waves Awareness: An Explainer

Anna Scott • April 20, 2016

There are two types of atmospheric waves that are critically important on Earth and other planets: gravity waves and planetary waves.

Favorite Astro Plots #4: Classifying Exoplanets

Jingjing Chen • April 15, 2016

Until just a few years ago, a plot of mass versus size of other worlds would have looked pretty sparse and uninformative. But thanks to the tireless efforts of exoplanet astronomers, we now know fairly precise masses and radii for hundreds of distant worlds.

Continuing the Hunt for Exoplanets

Meg Schwamb • March 04, 2016

Meg Schwamb highlights some of the upcoming space-based missions that will search for planets beyond our solar system.

Using Lasers to Lock Down Exoplanet Hunting

Bruce Betts • September 26, 2014

The Planetary Society is launching a new collaboration with Yale exoplanet hunter Debra Fischer and her team, the Exoplanets Laser project. We will support the purchase of an advanced, ultra stable laser to be used in a complex system they are designing to push radial velocity exoplanet hunting to a whole whole new level.

The Habitable Zone of Inhabited Planets

Jaime Green • July 07, 2014

A team of Colombian researchers are arguing for a new refinement to the idea of the habitable zone that takes the presence of life itself into account.

How Weird Is Our Solar System?

Jaime Green • May 05, 2014

Earth and its solar system compatriots all have nearly circular orbits, but many exoplanets orbit their stars on wildly eccentric paths. Is our home system strange? Or is our sense of the data skewed?

Intro Astronomy 2014. Class 11: Exoplanets and Solar System Origin and Formation

Bruce Betts • April 25, 2014

Learn about the formation and origin of the Solar System and go beyond our neighborhood to investigate exoplanets (planets around other stars) in this video of class 11 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

The Birth of the Wanderers

Augusto Carballido • April 16, 2014

How did planets originate? This is a question that has puzzled scientists for centuries, but one which they have been able to tackle directly only in the last few decades, thanks to two major developments: breakthroughs in telescope technology and ever-increasing computing power.

Update on the search for planets in the Alpha Centauri system

Bruce Betts • April 04, 2014

Update from Debra Fischer and her team on the intriguing results of their observations of the main Alpha Centauri stars, as well as future plans.

Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 12: Encyclopedia Galactica

Casey Dreier • February 05, 2014

Cosmos returns in fine form in its penultimate episode. Sagan explores the historical and scientific precedents for the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI) and our human desires to not be alone in the universe.

Planetary Radio: The Gemini Planet Imager

Mat Kaplan • January 14, 2014

It's very nice to infer the existence of planets circling other stars. It's even better to see them. This new instrument has just become the most powerful exoplanet viewer yet created.

Shaping the Search for Life

Jason Davis • January 14, 2014

A short film on the Giant Magellan Telescope, which could revolutionize exoplanet research and shape the search for life in the Universe.

Alpha Centauri Planet Hunt Update

Bruce Betts • October 15, 2013

An update from Yale’s Debra Fischer about the Alpha Centauri planet hunt, partially sponsored by The Planetary Society, as well as her team’s efforts to remove “noise” from parent stars to help find exoplanets.

The "Starship Century" Beckons

Mat Kaplan • October 01, 2013

The Benford brothers provide inspiration and hard fact in their excellent new anthology about interstellar travel.

Europe Will Select Its Next Major Science Mission in November

Van Kane • September 25, 2013

The European Space Agency will announce two major science missions this November, one of which is likely to be devoted to solar system exploration.

Book review: Destiny or Chance Revisited

Emily Lakdawalla • September 04, 2013

What have the recent discoveries of thousands of exoplanets told us about how we got here, and whether we are alone? In Destiny or Chance Revisited, Stuart Ross Taylor attempts to answer those two questions.

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