The seven rocky planets of TRAPPIST-1 seem to have very similar compositions

This illustration shows three possible interiors of the seven rocky exoplanets in the TRAPPIST-1 system, based on precision measurements of the planet densities. Overall the TRAPPIST-1 worlds have remarkably similar densities, which suggests they may share the same ratio of common planet-forming elements. The planet densities are slightly lower than that of Earth or Venus, […]

The seven rocky planets of TRAPPIST-1 seem to have very similar compositions

IMAGE: This illustration shows three possible interiors of the seven rocky exoplanets in the TRAPPIST-1 system, based on precision measurements of the planet densities. Overall the TRAPPIST-1 worlds have remarkably… view more  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech A new international study led by astrophysicist Eric Agol from the University of Washington has measured the densities of the seven planets […]

Spacey ‘super puffs’ are changing our understanding of how planets form

An artistic rendering of WASP-107b orbiting in front of its star (ESA/Hubble, NASA, M. Kornmesser/) When Caroline Piaulet first started looking at an exoplanet called WASP-107b, a gas giant orbiting a star in the Virgo constellation about 212 light years away, she was mostly interested in finding out what was inside it. “I essentially wanted […]

Neptune’s bumpy childhood could reveal our solar system’s missing planets

This image was taken by Voyager 2, and features its Great Dark Spot and a bright moving spot colloquially called Scooter. (NASA/JPL/) The modern solar system spins serenely, the planets locked in seemingly eternal circles around the sun. But it wasn’t always so. This tranquility appears to have emerged only after a gladiatorial period of […]

Several billion-year-old rocks tell the story of the planet’s transition from alien landscape to one of continents, oceans, and ultimately life — ScienceDaily

A new study from scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and the University of Chicago sheds light on a hotly contested debate in Earth sciences: when did plate subduction begin? According to findings published Dec. 9 in the journal Science Advances, this process could have started 3.75 billion years ago, reshaping […]

Planets with many neighbors may be the best places to look for life

If you’re looking for life beyond the solar system, there’s strength in numbers. A new study suggests that systems with multiple planets tend to have rounder orbits than those with just one, indicating a calmer family history. Only child systems and planets with more erratic paths hint at past planetary sibling clashes violent enough to […]

NYUAD study finds stellar flares can lead to the diminishment of a planet’s habitability

IMAGE: An artist’s conception of HD 209458 b, an exoplanet whose atmosphere is being torn off at more than 35,000 km/hour by the radiation of its close-by parent star. This hot… view more  Credit: NASA/European Space Agency/Alfred Vidal-Madjar (Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, CNRS) Fast facts: Planetary habitability, defined by a planet’s ability to sustain liquid water […]

Assessing the habitability of planets around old red dwarfs

Credit: Chandra X-ray Center A new study using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope gives new insight into an important question: how habitable are planets that orbit the most common type of stars in the Galaxy? The target of the new study, as reported in our press release, is Barnard’s Star, […]