This year's American Astronomical Society meeting featured tons and tons of news on exoplanets. They're everywhere! And not just planets, but also asteroids, comets, and more....
First Planet Discovered in Alpha Centauri System
Information on the Discovery, and also Insights from Debra Fischer
European astronomers have made the first planetary discovery in the closest-to-Earth Alpha Centauri star system. Here is some information about the discovery, and insights from Yale Astronomer Debra Fischer, who leads another Alpha Centauri planet search partially supported by The Planetary Society.
In the first full day of the annual meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, I listened to scientific sessions on icy worlds and on an exoplanet in a four-star system.
Do planets circle our closest stellar neighbors, the system loved by science fiction: Alpha Centauri? We don’t know. But, Debra Fischer, Julien Spronck, and their colleagues at Yale University, in part with Planetary Society support, are trying to find out.
Someone on Twitter pointed me to a paper recently posted to ArXiv titled "Evidence for 9 planets in the HD 10180 system." If the (tentative) conclusion holds up, HD 10180 will be the first exoplanetary system known to have more planets than our own.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/20 04:53 CST
A large team of researchers has announced in a Nature article the discovery of not one, but two, Earth-sized planets orbiting a star named Kepler-20. This article separates the observational facts from the quite-likely-to-be-true inferences from the downstream speculations.
Posted by Konstantin Batygin on 2011/05/23 07:35 CDT
Some parallels exist between Odysseus' journey and the discoveries of exoplanets. What initially started out as a well-planned trip from Troy back to Ithaca, turned into a series of rather unfortunate events, with episodes of fighting Cyclops and having your crew turned into swine.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/14 11:30 CDT
Might there be many Titan-like planets and moons, with atmospheres and liquid methane rain, rivers, and lakes, across the galaxy? It's an important question if you think that liquid methane environments could support alien life, because it turns out that Titan-like planets might be more common than Earth-like planets.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/02 12:26 CST
I wasn't able to watch the Kepler press briefing today so I will give you links to some of my favorite blogs for information on today's announcement, which follows a major data release last night as well as the publication of a paper in Nature.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/10 02:12 CST
The Kepler exoplanet hunting mission has made news today with a report of "its first rocky planet."
Posted by Bruce Betts on 2010/01/04 12:06 CST
Congratulations to NASA's Kepler mission team on their announcement of the discovery of its first five exoplanets (planets around other stars). All five are "hot Jupiters," meaning that they are the sizes of the gas giants in our solar system, but are extremely close to their parent stars.