Astronomers might have solved an outstanding mystery of why forming planetary systems emit more infrared light than expected. The key lies with gas and dust suspended in giant magnetic loops.
A new map of Beta Pictoris reveals an asymmetric clump of carbon monoxide likely produced in cometary collisions. It provides a rare glimpse at the chaotic birth of a planetary system.
Old data from NASA’s crippled Kepler space telescope has yielded a new windfall of confirmed exoplanets, nearly doubling the number tallied since 1992.
Astronomers have discovered a new “failed star” with unusually red, dusty skies. The dust makes the object look much younger than it actually is, complicating studies of this type of brown dwarf.
Astronomers are beginning to understand the unlikely formation and dangerous survival of exoplanets circling binary stars.
Astronomers using a novel technique have mapped a brown dwarf's visible surface — even though they can't resolve the object in telescopes.
From high-altitude clouds discovered on a super-Earth to massive, hurricane-force storms on a nearby brown dwarf, a bevy of results show that the age of “astrometeorology” is upon us.
Most alien planets are nothing like what we've got in the solar system. Scientists are homing in on these mysterious worlds to see what they’re made of.
Astronomers have come up with a new technique for measuring an alien planet’s mass, and therefore its composition and potential habitability, even when standard methods don’t work.
Two teams have announced the discovery of water on alien worlds. But they found less water than expected, suggesting these planets are surrounded by a high-altitude haze.
The Kepler team has released its analysis of the mission’s first three years of observations. The haul includes 10 Earth-size (and probably rocky) exoplanets in their stars’ habitable zones, and the stats show such planets are common.
Planet Hunters citizen-science program identifies 14 exoplanet candidates the Kepler mission missed, including a seventh planet in a known system, making it the first seven-planet system discovered.
Two independent teams have confirmed that the planet Kepler-78b is roughly Earth-size and less than twice Earth's mass, making it the smallest exoplanet with a known density.
The red giant star Kepler-56 spins on an axis offset by a bizarre 45 degrees from its transiting planets. The discovery of a third companion could explain why.
Turns out “the lonely star of autumn” has not just one, but two distant companions, making it one of the most widely separated systems known.
Photosynthetic life has infused Earth's atmosphere with abundant oxygen that otherwise wouldn't be here. So can oxygen be used as a dependable signature for life on other worlds? Maybe not, according to a new analysis.
Visible and infrared observations suggest that the hot Jupiter Kepler-7b has a large patch of clouds on one side.
New studies of the coolest brown dwarfs are helping astronomers explore the mysterious objects that bridge the gap between stars and planets.
The disabled space telescope's prolific planet-hunting run is officially over, as the team abandons efforts to salvage its full pointing ability and focuses on data analysis. Its next mission? Hunting for a job.
A new companion found by direct imaging reveals a potentially cloudless gas giant oddly far from a young sun.
For the first time, astronomers know the true color of an exoplanet — and it appears an un-Earthly shade of blue. But don't pack your bags…
Dusty disks that encircle young stars sometimes host giant gaps. But a new study shows these gaps aren't necessarily the signature of a nearby planet.
The discovery of two mini-Neptunes around Sun-like stars in a distinctly un-Sun-like environment reveals that small planets can live in more crowded neighborhoods than we thought.
Two new studies highlight the growing importance of red dwarfs in the competitive search for alien worlds — and the challenges of characterizing them.
After several months of trying to reboot, mission planners for the exoplanet hunter COROT have declared the satellite's failure official.