Exoplanets

Some exoplanets seem to have walked directly out of the best science fiction movies. We’ve discovered single exoplanets orbiting two stars and as many as seven exoplanets orbiting a single star. We’ve probed the planet-forming disks that spawn these alien worlds, and we’re even starting to map the weather weather on these distant planets.

Here Sky & Telescope offers the latest exoplanet news, from super-Earths to hot Jupiters. We’ll continue monitoring results from the Kepler mission, the Hubble Space Telescope, and more to come as astronomers come up with new and creative methods for studying these alien worlds. The hunt for Earth 2.0 is on as we attempt to answer the age-old question: “are we alone?”

An artist's rendering of the hot Jupiter HAT-P-7b.

How to Toast a Planet

A new study suggests that close-in gas giants may heat up electrically like toaster coils plugged in to their host stars via the power lines of the stellar wind — explaning why the planets inflate.

dust trap in Ophiucus

Trapping Alien Dust

New observations with the powerful ALMA observatory reveal a huge pile-up of dust around a young star. The result could help astronomers solve a long-standing mystery in planet formation.

planet-forming disk?

One Gap, No Planets

There's a big gap in the dusty disk around the young star V1247 Orionis. Such a gap should be carved out by one or more planets, but astronomers can't find any.

Kepler-62's habitable-zone exoplanets

Almost Earth-like Exoplanets

NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered a 5-planet system that includes a hot Mars and four super-Earths, two of which might host liquid water. These aren’t quite the Earth-like exoplanets Kepler’s been looking for, but they’re close.