Since its discovery in 2016, planetary scientists have been excited about TRAPPIST-1, a system where seven Earth-sized rocky planets orbit a cool star. Three of the planets are in the habitable zone, the region of space where liquid water can flow on the planets’ surfaces. But two new studies by scientists in the University of

A stellar flare ten times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter. The star is the coolest and smallest to give off a rare white-light superflare, and by some definitions could be too small be considered a star. The discovery, funded by

Astronomers have discovered a third planet in the Kepler-47 system, securing the system’s title as the most interesting of the binary-star worlds. Using data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, a team of researchers, led by astronomers at San Diego State University, detected the new Neptune-to-Saturn-size planet orbiting between two previously known planets. With its three

On its final flyby of Saturn’s largest moon in 2017, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft gathered radar data revealing that the small liquid lakes in Titan’s northern hemisphere are surprisingly deep, perched atop hills and filled with methane. The new findings, published April 15 in Nature Astronomy, are the first confirmation of just how deep some of Titan’s

Large differences in the ‘fogginess’ of the early universe were caused by islands of cold gas left behind when the universe heated up after the big bang, according to an international team of astronomers. The results, reported in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, have enabled astronomers to zero in on the time when

Researchers from NASA and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, report that streams of meteoroids striking the Moon infuse the thin lunar atmosphere with a short-lived water vapor. The findings will help scientists understand the history of lunar water—a potential resource for sustaining long term operations on the Moon and human exploration

Astronomers from the United States and South Korea have made the first high-resolution, radio telescope observations of the molecular clouds within a massive star-forming region of the outer Milky Way. “This region is behind a nearby cloud of dust and gas,” said Charles Kerton, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Iowa State University

A nearby system hosts the first Earth-sized planet discovered by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanets Survey Satellite, as well as a warm sub-Neptune-sized world, according to a new paper from a team of astronomers that includes Carnegie’s Johanna Teske, Paul Butler, Steve Shectman, Jeff Crane, and Sharon Wang. Their work is published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. “It’s

A tiny piece of the building blocks from which comets formed has been discovered inside a primitive meteorite. The discovery by a Carnegie Institution of Science-led team, including a researcher now at Arizona State University, was published April 15 in Nature Astronomy. The finding could offer clues to the formation, structure, and evolution of the solar system.

The closest exoplanet to us, if we include only single stars like the Sun, is the planet around Barnard’s Star, Barnard’s Star-b (“BSb”). (The planet Promixa Centauri-b is closer, but Proxima Cen is part of a triple-star system with Alpha and Beta Centauri, and understanding the evolutionary development of the planet is more complicated.) BSb

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