Study shows some exoplanets may have greater variety of life than exists on Earth

A new study indicates that some exoplanets may have better conditions for life to thrive than Earth itself has. “This is a surprising conclusion”, said lead researcher Dr Stephanie Olson, “it shows us that conditions on some exoplanets with favourable ocean circulation patterns could be better suited to support life that is more abundant or … Read more

A second planet in the Beta Pictoris system

A team of astronomers led by Anne-Marie Lagrange, a CNRS researcher at the Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (CNRS/Université Grenoble Alpes)1, has discovered a second giant planet in orbit around β Pictoris, a star that is relatively young (23 million years old) and close (63.4 light years), and surrounded by a disk of … Read more

At the edge of chaos: New method for exoplanet stability analysis

Exoplanets revolving around distant stars are coming quickly into focus with advanced technology like the Kepler space telescope. Gaining a full understanding of those systems is difficult, because the initial positions and velocities of the exoplanets are unknown. Determining whether the system dynamics are quasi-periodic or chaotic is cumbersome, expensive and computationally demanding. In this … Read more

TESS discovers three new planets nearby, including temperate ‘sub-Neptune’

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, has discovered three new worlds that are among the smallest, nearest exoplanets known to date. The planets orbit a star just 73 light years away and include a small, rocky super-Earth and two sub-Neptunes – planets about half the size of our own icy giant. The sub-Neptune furthest … Read more

Discovering exoplanets with gravitational waves

In a recent paper in Nature Astronomy, Nicola Tamanini from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute/AEI) in Potsdam and Camilla Danielski from the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in Saclay, Paris suggest how the planned space-based gravitational-wave observatory LISA can detect exoplanets orbiting white dwarf binaries everywhere in … Read more

A Pair of Fledgling Planets Directly Seen Growing Around a Young Star

Astronomers have directly imaged two exoplanets that are gravitationally carving out a wide gap within a planet-forming disk surrounding a young star. While over a dozen exoplanets have been directly imaged, this is only the second multi-planet system to be photographed. (The first was a four-planet system orbiting the star HR 8799.) Unlike HR 8799, … Read more