To date, scientists have confirmed the existence of more than 900 exoplanets circulating outside our solar system. To determine if any of these far-off worlds are habitable requires knowing an exoplanet’s mass — which can help tell scientists whether the planet is made of gas or rock and other life-supporting materials.
Now approaching its 10th anniversary, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has evolved into a premier observatory for an endeavor not envisioned in its original design: the study of worlds around other stars, called exoplanets. While the engineers and scientists who built Spitzer did not have this goal in mind, their visionary work made this unexpected capability possible.
There are at least 100 billion planets in the Milky Way alone, say Caltech scientists, based on extrapolations from the Kepler-32 system.
Astronomers have for the first time found a rogue planet that appears to be wandering through space on its own, unattached to any star.
New research indicates that life might be able to survive on some of the odder exoplanets discovered so far - from scorching hot worlds with molten surfaces to freezing balls of ice.
Two teams of astronomers using NASA's Kepler space telescope have discovered 41 new transiting planets in 20 star systems. They up the total number by more than 50 percent, to 116 planets in 67 systems.
Using a lens no more powerful than the one on your digital camera, astronomers have discovered two unusual exoplanets.
Astrophysicists at the University of Warwick have identified four white dwarfs surrounded by dust from shattered planetary bodies which once bore striking similarities to the composition of the Earth.
NASA's nearly doubled the number of known exoplanets in one fell swoop, with the announcement of 11 new planetary systems hosting 26 planets.
NASA's discovered its tiniest solar system yet, which includes the three smallest exoplanets ever found.
Scientists at the SETI Institute are to pop their headphones back on and start listening out for aliens once again, thanks to new funding.
So-called 'citizen scientists' may have found two new planets previously dismissed as possibilities by NASA.
Astronomers using the HARPS planet hunter have discovered more than 50 new exoplanets, including 16 super-Earths, one of which orbits at the edge of the habitable zone of its star.
What do more than a thousand planet candidates and their suns look like? Jason Rowe, of NASA's Kepler science team has produced an image that shows each of the 1,235 potential planets so far discovered transiting its star.
The so-called 'habitable zone' around low-mass stars is often nothing of the sort, according to astronomers, because of the effect of tides.
NASA believes it's discovered its first Earth-sized exoplanets - and five of them are in the 'Goldilocks zone' where conditions are considered favorable for life.
Earth-sized planets could be ten a penny, say UC Berkeley astronomers, who estimate they may orbit as many as a quarter of all Sun-like stars.
An astronomer says he's caught a star in the act of chewing up a companion and spitting out a second generation of exoplanets.
Astronomers have discovered a planetary system containing at least five and possibly seven planets, orbiting the Sun-like star HD 10180. It makes the system the most similar to our own yet discovered.
The National Research Council is calling for an infrared space telescope as the top priority for NASA astrophysicists over the next ten years.