Lights of alien worlds

Since the search for extraterrestrial intelligence started, scientists have been “listening” to stars, looking for artificial radio emissions from other planets. While we keep searching for such signals, there may as well be other ways to detect alien civilizations. Light itself may in the future become an efficient way to …

50 new planets in our neighbourhood

The list of other worlds has recently grown bigger: astronomers have announced that they have found 50 more exoplanets, orbiting nearby stars. That’s the largest number of exoplanets ever announced at once.
The team, led by Michel Mayor from University of Geneva, Switzerland, used the HARPS (High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet …

Tides… on a distant star

Massive exoplanets would induce huge tides on their parent stars when they orbit them at a close distance. Astronomers now suggest that current instruments should be able to detect them. Actually, they might already have detected such tides on a distant star.
Located 325 light-years away in the constellation Phoenix, WASP-18b …

Habitability within our Galaxy – Could complex life exist elsewhere?

A team of researchers has presented a new model of habitability within the Milky Way. According to their calculations, more than one in every hundred stars may have planets capable of supporting complex life within our Galaxy. Their results will be published in the journal Astrobiology.
Astronomers generally focus on exoplanets orbiting stars …

A strange new planetary system

Astronomers have observed an anomaly in the eclipses of a binary star system. They suggest this could be due to the presence of two giant planets, orbiting the stellar binary.
The two stars, known as UZ For, are both smaller than our Sun. One of them is a white dwarf, the …

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