Using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), researchers have discovered an Earth-sized planet that lies in its star’s habitable zone. The planet (TOI 700 d) is about 1.2 times the size of Earth and receives from its star 86% of the energy that the Sun provides to Earth and so considered to be in the … Continue reading Earth-sized exoplanet in the habitable zone discovered
Watery exoplanets, but is there life?
The quest to find life outside the solar system got a big boost with the discovery of seven Earth-size extra-solar planets, or exoplanets, orbiting a dwarf star about 40 light years away. Unlike earlier discoveries of exoplanets, all seven planets could possibly have liquid water — a key to life as we know it on … Continue reading Watery exoplanets, but is there life?
Seven Earth-size planets with possible liquid water spotted
Scientists have spotted seven Earth-size planets with masses similar to Earth orbiting around a dwarf star (TRAPPIST-1) the size of Jupiter just 39 light-years from the Sun. The planets’ temperature is low enough to make possible the presence of liquid water on their surface. In May last year, scientists found three planets passing in front … Continue reading Seven Earth-size planets with possible liquid water spotted
A ‘young Jupiter’ exoplanet discovered
The Gemini Planet Imager imaging instrument perched atop Chile’s Gemini South Telescope has for the first time discovered an exoplanet which is Jupiter-like within a young system. In all likelihood, the exoplanet — 51 Eridani b — may be the lowest-mass one ever directly imaged with a space telescope instrument. The results were published on … Continue reading A ‘young Jupiter’ exoplanet discovered
Editorial: Kepler – Down but not out
The failure of the second of the four gyroscope-like reaction wheels of the Kepler space telescope in May this year brings down the curtain on its primary mission of identifying planets outside our solar system, namely exoplanets. A spare wheel failed in July last year. Three wheels are necessary for maintaining precision steering for the … Continue reading Editorial: Kepler – Down but not out
Editorial: Searching for Earth’s twin
Published in The Hindu on January 14, 2013 The recent announcement at the American Astronomical Society meeting in California dramatically increases the possibility of finding Earth-sized extra-solar planets, or exoplanets, and in particular, those that are in a habitable ‘Goldilocks’ zone — neither too close nor too far from a star, so liquid water might … Continue reading Editorial: Searching for Earth’s twin
Two more planets orbiting binary stars discovered
Published in the Hindu on January 12, 2012 More than 700 planets orbiting a star (extrasolar planets) have been discovered till date. But a planet orbiting two stars was more in the realms of science fiction till recently. Astronomers surprised everybody last September when they reported the first ever discovery of such a planet orbiting … Continue reading Two more planets orbiting binary stars discovered
Editorial: In search of a second earth
Published in The Hindu on March 10, 2011 The discovery of six exoplanets or extra-solar planets (planets outside the Solar System) orbiting a single sun-like star, dubbed Kepler-11, at a distance of about 2,000 light-years from Earth makes it the largest collection to be ever found. Those found earlier using ground-based detection methods were single … Continue reading Editorial: In search of a second earth