Hovering about 70 light-years from Earth is a star astronomers call HD 97658, which is almost bright enough to see with the naked eye. But the real 'star' is the planet HD 97658b, not much more than twice the Earth's diameter and a little less than eight times its mass.
A new study that calculates the influence of cloud behavior on climate doubles the number of potentially habitable planets orbiting red dwarfs, the most common type of stars in the universe. This finding means that in the Milky Way galaxy alone, 60 billion planets may be orbiting red dwarf stars in the habitable zone.
Data from NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft continues to provide new insight on the outskirts of our solar system, a frontier thought to be the last that Voyager will cross before becoming the first man-made object to reach interstellar space.
Gemini Observatory's Planet-Finding Campaign finds that, around many types of stars, distant gas-giant planets are rare and prefer to cling close to their parent stars. The impact on theories of planetary formation could be significant.
Researchers at Washington State University are working with Aerojet Corporation on an exploratory project to make custom satellite parts using 3-D printing. Lower costs, less waste, quicker turnaround and easier modification are some potential benefits.
Spiral galaxies like our own Milky Way appear to be much larger and more massive than previously believed, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study by researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope.
Astronomers have gathered the most detailed observations ever into the surroundings of the supermassive black hole at the centre of an active galaxy, and made a surprising discovery: dust is being propelled into space in a ring-shaped disk.
A team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics conducted the most expensive and most elaborate computer simulations so far to study the formation of neutron stars at the center of collapsing stars with unprecedented accuracy.
The University of Colorado Boulder has become a full institutional member of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-IV, an ambitious effort by some of the world's top astronomers to map the celestial sky in three dimensions to learn more about the structure and evolution of the universe.
All stars begin their lives in groups. Most stars are born in small groups that quickly fall apart. Others form in huge, dense swarms, where stars jostle with thousands of neighbors while strong radiation and harsh stellar winds scour interstellar space, stripping planet-forming materials from nearby stars. It would thus seem an unlikely place to find alien worlds. Yet 3,000 light-years from Earth, in the star cluster NGC 6811, astronomers have found two planets smaller than Neptune orbiting sun-like stars.
A team of astronomers has combined new observations of Gliese 667C with existing data from HARPS at ESO's 3.6-meter telescope in Chile, to reveal a system with at least six planets. A record-breaking three of these planets are super-Earths lying in the zone around the star where liquid water could exist, making them possible candidates for the presence of life. This is the first system found with a fully packed habitable zone.
We now understand the nature of the giant storms on Saturn. Through the analysis of images sent from the Cassini space probe belonging to the North American and European space agencies (NASA and ESA respectively), as well as the computer models of the storms and the examination of the clouds therein, the Planetary Sciences Group of the University of the Basque Country has managed to explain the behaviour of these storms for the very first time.
A CSIRO radio telescope has detected the raw material for making the first stars in galaxies that formed when the Universe was just three billion years old - less than a quarter of its current age. This opens the way to studying how these early galaxies make their first stars.
On June 7, 2011, our sun erupted, blasting tons of hot plasma into space. Some of that plasma splashed back down onto the sun's surface, sparking bright flashes of ultraviolet light. This dramatic event may provide new insights into how young stars grow by sucking up nearby gas.