What's up in

exoplanets

Painting of a planet and a star.
exoplanets

New Exoplanet Search Strategy Claims First Discovery

February 18, 2020

By watching for a special kind of flare, astronomers have identified the fingerprints of an Earth-size planet orbiting a distant star.

Illustration of interstellar objects entering our solar system
Quantized Columns

The Age of Interstellar Visitors

January 29, 2020

As astronomers get better at finding the comets and asteroids of other stars, they’ll learn more about the universe and our place in it.

An illustration of a planet in front of a star.
Abstractions blog

Physics Nobel Honors Early Universe and Exoplanet Discoveries

October 8, 2019

The astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz won half of the prize for their 1995 discovery of a Jupiter-like planet orbiting a nearby star. The cosmologist James Peebles won the other half for work exploring the structure of the universe.

planetary science

Wandering Space Rocks Help Solve Mysteries of Planet Formation

July 16, 2019

After an interstellar asteroid shot past the sun, scientists realized that there’s probably a lot of itinerant rocks out there.

Abstractions blog

A Close Look at Newborn Planets Reveals Hints of Infant Moons

June 11, 2019

Astronomers have discovered a complex planetary system still swirling into existence.

Art for "As Planet Discoveries Pile Up, a Gap Appears in the Pattern"
Abstractions blog

As Planet Discoveries Pile Up, a Gap Appears in the Pattern

May 16, 2019

Astronomers are puzzling over a paucity of planets in the galaxy measuring between 1.5 and two times Earth’s size.

PHOTO: Sarah Hörst in her lab at JHU
Q&A

The Scientist Who Cooks Up the Skies of Faraway Worlds

April 8, 2019

Astronomers will soon take their first glance at the atmosphere of a distant exoplanet. Sarah Hörst is writing the guidebook for these exoplanetary explorers, one that will reveal what a distinctive atmosphere says about the world underneath.

Art for "Planets Found to Be Larger Than the Disks They Come From"
astrophysics

Planets Found to Be Larger Than the Disks They Come From

October 4, 2018

The new finding is challenging established theories of how planets come to be.

Photo of a diver between two tectonic plates in Silfra. reykjavik. Iceland
geophysics

Why Earth’s Cracked Crust May Be Essential for Life

June 7, 2018

Life needs more than water alone. Recent discoveries suggest that plate tectonics has played a critical role in nourishing life on Earth. The findings carry major consequences for the search for life elsewhere in the universe.