Exoplanets

Some exoplanets seem to have walked directly out of the best science fiction movies. Worlds made of diamond? Volcano covered surfaces? Mysterious magnetic storms? 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 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 as astronomers come up with new and creative methods for studying these alien worlds. We’ll probe the mysteries of the TRAPPIST-1 system, report on the furthest known planets, and share more about their atmospheres, likelihood of habitability, and other properties as they are determined. The hunt for Earth 2.0 is on as we attempt to answer the age-old question: “are we alone?”

Planet Formation Caught in the Act

A team of scientists has captured evidence that PDS 70b, the first directly imaged instance of early planet formation, is actively accreting material, and they’ve measured the rate at which it’s growing.

When Giant Planets Orbit Evolved Stars

A new study explores the impacts of stars that age past the main sequence and evolve into red giants on the planets orbiting around them by looking at the orbits of gas giants closely circling evolved stars.

The Fate of Exomoons when Planets Scatter

Planet interactions are thought to be common as solar systems are first forming and settling down. A new study suggests that these close encounters could have a significant impact on the moons of giant exoplanets — and they may generate a large population of free-floating exomoons.

An Eccentric Planet Skims a Giant Star

As part of a major survey of evolved stars, scientists have discovered the most eccentric planet known to orbit a giant. What can we learn from this unusual object before it’s eventually consumed by its host?

More Planets in the Hyades Cluster

A few weeks ago, Astrobites reported on a Neptune-sized planet discovered orbiting a star in the Hyades cluster. A separate study submitted at the same time, however, reveals that there may be even more planets lurking in this system.