space
New Analysis of Potentially Habitable Exoplanet Makes Us Hungry for Better Telescopes 

Eleven light-years from Earth, orbiting a dim red star, there’s an exoplanet called Ross 128b that, as we recently reported, has some the best prospects for life of any known distant world. New results may help astronomers figure out what the planet is made of—and they offer more evidence that it might be inside its parent star’s habitable zone. Read More >>

kepler
NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope Is Running Out of Fuel and May Not Have Much More Time

NASA’s storied Kepler Space Telescope — the craft which has discovered thousands of exoplanets since its launch in 2009 — is entering the retirement phase of its lifespan. NASA announced on Friday that Kepler staff had “received an indication that the spacecraft fuel tank is running very low” and “placed the spacecraft in a hibernation-like state in preparation to download the science data collected in its latest observation campaign.” Read More >>

space
Astronomers Have Captured First Direct Evidence of an Exoplanet Being Born

At this point, we’ve spotted several thousand exoplanets—there’s nothing super exciting anymore about finding a distant star with several worlds orbiting it. But today, scientists are announcing that they have seen an exoplanet in the middle of forming. Read More >>

space
Our Galaxy Might Be Teeming With Habitable Exomoons

There are eight planets in our Solar System (sorry Pluto), but collectively, these planets host over 175 moons, one or two of which may even harbour life. Indeed, our galaxy, based on what we observe here, could be bursting with exomoons, a significant number of which may be capable of fostering life, according to new a new study. Read More >>

movies
Report: The Flash Movie Might Be More Like Back to the Future Than Flashpoint

Big changes have been happening in the upper echelons of Warner Bros.’ DC superhero division, and they might mean that the Fastest Man Alive’s upcoming solo film won’t be quite as dark as his infamous 2011 time-travel comics storyline. A new report gives us updates on the Flash’s solo film, something we haven’t had in a while, as well as the larger DC Entertainment picture. Read More >>

space
NASA’s New Exoplanet Hunter Releases Incredible First Image

On the way to its final orbit around Earth, NASA’s planet-hunting Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has sailed by the moon and snapped its first picture of space. We’ve said several times that TESS would be able to look at 200,000 stars in the 300 light-years around the Earth—but maybe this new shot will show you what that really means. Read More >>

astronomy
On This Salty, Saturn-Like Exoplanet, the Forecast Always Calls for Clear Skies

Astronomers have detected an exoplanet whose salt-rich atmosphere is completely devoid of clouds — a strange celestial feature that until this point only existed in theory. Read More >>

space
The First Exoplanet Known to Contain Helium Is a Truly Alien World 

In addition to filling balloons at birthday parties, helium can be found scattered throughout the cosmos. To date, however, scientists have struggled to detect the ubiquitous element on distant worlds, even though the gas is certain to be there. But that’s now changed, thanks to the discovery of helium on a Jupiter-sized world located 200 light-years from Earth—but that’s only part of the story. Read More >>

lasers
Record-Breaking Laser Experiment Could Teach Us About the Cores of Super-Earths

An enormous laser targeted for shutdown by proposed federal budget cuts has just done some record-breaking science in order to understand the centres of faraway exoplanets that scientists call “super-Earths.” Read More >>

space
Intense Gravity of Super-Earths Could Trap Aliens on Their Home Planet

Rocky worlds larger than Earth are commonplace in the galaxy, and a few of them may even be habitable. Which poses an interesting question: How difficult would it be for aliens living on these super-Earths to launch rockets into space, given the tremendous gravity? According to new research, it would be difficult to the point of impossibility—meaning that some aliens may be perpetually trapped on their home worlds. Read More >>

nasa
NASA’s Newest Planet Hunter Will Do What Kepler Couldn’t

On April 16, NASA is planning to launch its Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. TESS is an Earth-orbiting instrument meant to spot faraway planets circling some 200,000 stars within 300 light-years of Earth. Astronomers hopes that TESS will help them learn whether or not there are other habitable planets, or even life beyond the Solar System. TESS can’t do this alone, however. Read More >>

space
Strange Pole-Shifting Physics Conjures a Truly Alien World

Perhaps there’s a life-supporting, Earth-like planet orbiting close to a red dwarf star many light years away. Perhaps this planet orbits so close to the star that only one half of it ever faces the light. Maybe some sentient species evolved during that infinite day, on some massive supercontinent. And maybe one day, the sun set on part of that continent, stranding half of the species in the dark, where they evolved under a changing atmosphere. The light and dark species, unable to survive in the other’s environs, separated forever. Read More >>

space
Giant Flare Around Proxima Centauri May Kill Hope for Planetary System

Scientists have discovered a flare off of the sun’s closest stellar neighbour, Proxima Centauri. Many are reporting that it could spell trouble for any hope for life on its exoplanet, Proxima b—but it might also kill off a presumed set of other planets around the star. Read More >>

space
When Will We Finally Find a Truly Earth-Like Exoplanet?

There are many definitions of an Earth-like exoplanet. Some say it’s a planet that orbits a star at just the right distance for liquid water to exist on its surface. Some say it’s a rocky planet, like ours. But determining if an exoplanet is truly habitable requires actually figuring out what’s on the planet. Read More >>

space
Kepler Astronomers Discover Treasure Trove of New Exoplanets

Kepler is the gift that keeps on giving. After suffering a major malfunction five years ago, the rejiggered space-based telescope continues to churn away, scanning the heavens for signs of distant worlds. An international team of astronomers has now released the results of its latest survey, confirming the existence of nearly 100 new exoplanets. Read More >>