exoplanets

How Would Alien Astronomers Find Earth?

This weekend, astronomers announced the discovery of the most Earth-like planet anyone has identified yet. The search of habitable planets is intensifying — and, with it, questions about whether we’re looking for the exoplanets the right way. For starters, figuring out how Earth would look to aliens is actually pretty useful.


The Lick Observatory's Newest Telescope Is An Exoplanet Hunting Robot

Exoplanets — planets orbiting stars that aren’t our Sun — seem to be popping out of the cosmic woodwork now that we know where and how to look for them. The Kepler mission alone has discovered 961 of them, and it’s only looking at a tiny sliver of distant space. Just think of how many we’ll find when the new James Lick robotic telescope comes online and starts surveying one thousand of our closest solar neighbours.


The Number Of Known Planets In The Universe Just Doubled

NASA’s $US600 million Kepler Space Telescope has discovered a few new planets. Actually, Kepler data revealed 715 new exoplanets. That’s astonishing. It’s actually twice as many as we previously thought existed. The number of known Earth-sized planets also just quadrupled.


Astronomers: Super-Earths Have Oceans And Continents, Just Like Earth

A pair of Chicago-based astronomers have some good news for you alien-hunters out there. Despite previous assumptions, geophysics tell us that large Earth-like exoplanets (a.k.a. super-Earths) likely have both oceans and exposed continents. That means more Earth-like climates too.


Astronomers Find That Nearby Earth-Like Planet Is Covered In Clouds Too

Two studies recently published in Nature set a new standard for so-called “Earth-like” exoplanets. Research into atmospheric conditions show that GJ 1214b, one of the exoplanets closest to Earth, is covered in clouds, just like Earth.


Astronomers Figured Out How To Weigh Entire Planets Using Starlight

Weighing a planet is a tough task. I mean, it’s not like you can just put them on a bathroom scale. And, while astronomers figured out how to measure the mass of planets in our solar system a long time ago, it’s practically impossible to weigh exoplanets. Well, it was until recently.


Almost Earth: The Global Hunt For Habitable Worlds

Two papers were published recently, each independently revealing that a planet discovered by the Kepler mission is the closest thing we’ve found yet to another Earth. But don’t pack your bags just yet — this new “Earth” is certainly not the habitable world we’ve all been waiting for.


A Mind-Boggling Display Of Earth-Like Planets

Kepler keeps finding more and more potentially habitable planets in our Universe — and it turns out that looking at them can be just as perplexing as thinking about them.


One In Five Sun-Like Stars Has Earth-Size Planets In Habitable Zone

The odds of finding a habitable planet elsewhere in the universe just get better and better. A new study claims that one in five sun-like stars has an Earth-size planet in the habitable zone. That adds up to about 20 billion Earth-size planets in the Milky Way alone.


Scientists Find Remains Of Water-Covered Earth-Like Planet

A team of astrophysicists have made an exciting however complex discovery a mere 170 light years away. In their own words, it’s “the first evidence of a water-rich rocky planetary body” outside of our own solar system to have evidence of water. It’s the “rocky” bit that makes it Earth-like.