exoplanets

We're Looking For Alien Life On Bizarre 'Eyeball Planets'

It’s easy for us Earthlings to imagine life evolving on planets like ours. But there are exoplanets out there that strain the imagination. Take “eyeball planets”, which are half frozen, half broiling with the heat of their suns. Earthlike planet Zarmina, in the Gliese system, is one of these. We shouldn’t rule these bizarre planets out from our search for life.


Ancient Exoplanet Discovery Boosts Chances Of Finding Alien Life

One of the crucial variables in calculating the likelihood that alien life exists elsewhere in our galaxy is the number of stars that possess planetary systems, and the proportion of those planets that might be suitable for life.


NASA Made These Gorgeous Travel Posters For Actual Exoplanets

As the exoplanet discoveries from Kepler keep pouring in, we’re realising just how fantastic, bizarre, and varied the planets of our universe truly are. Someday, we might see them with our own eyes. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has created a stunning set of exoplanet travel posters that will make you wish very hard that someday is now.


Kepler Just Found The Most Earth-Like Exoplanets Ever Discovered

Kepler just can’t stop discovering exoplanets. Nearly two years after scientists said it was crippled, the planet-hunting telescope recently identified eight new planets. But that’s not all. They’re all in the Goldilocks zone of their respective stars, and two of them are more Earth-like than anything astronomers have ever seen.


Kepler Just Discovered A New Super-Earth, Against All Odds 

In May 2013, NASA’s exoplanet-seeking spacecraft, Kepler, seemed doomed. Two of four wheels that stabilised its telescope had malfunctioned — and NASA appealed to scientists from around the world for ideas to salvage its mission. Yesterday, it announced the discovery of a brand-new super-Earth 180 light years from our own.


This Giant Rainbow Was Made With Tech That's Used To Study Exoplanets

It’s not very often that the fields of advanced photonics and installation art meet. But in Amsterdam this week, visitors to the city’s Central Station are getting a look at what happens when liquid crystal optic technology is used to something completely unscientific: Make public art.


You Can Discover New Planets With A DSLR 

Wouldn’t it be cool to discover a planet circling a lonely star light years away from Earth? Maybe you’d even get to name it. Actually exploring deep space is hard, but as IEEE Spectrum’s David Schneider points out, detecting exoplanets is pretty simple, simple enough that a basic DSLR and a telephoto lens can do it.


Exo-Earths And The Search For Life Elsewhere: A Brief History

Ever since humans first looked up at the night sky, we have wondered whether we are alone in the universe. Dreams of life beyond Earth pervade literature, TV shows and drive Hollywood blockbusters – but the truth of life beyond the Earth continues to evade us.


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.