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This artist’s impression shows the planet K2-18b, it’s host star and an accompanying planet in this system. K2-18b is now the only super-Earth exoplanet known to host both water and temperatures that could support life. UCL researchers used archive data from 2016 and 2017 captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and developed open-source algorithms to analyse the starlight filtered through K2-18b’s atmosphere. The results revealed the molecular signature of water vapour, also indicating the presence of hydrogen and helium in the planet’s atmosphere.

First Water Detected on Planet in the Habitable Zone

The first successful atmospheric detection of an exoplanet orbiting in its star’s habitable zone, at a distance where water can exist in liquid form.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/L. Kreidberg/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

Harvard astronomer discovered exoplanet without an atmosphere

Prospects clouded for finding life on the largest class of planets.
Illustration by Wendy Kenigsberg/Matt Fondeur/Cornell University

Fluorescent glow can reveal life hidden in the universe

The fluorescent glow could trigger a protective glow from life on exoplanets called biofluorescence, according to new Cornell research.
This artist's illustration shows the theoretical internal structure of the exoplanet GJ 3470 b. It is unlike any planet found in the Solar System. Weighing in at 12.6 Earth masses the planet is more massive than Earth but less massive than Neptune. Unlike Neptune, which is 3 billion miles from the Sun, GJ 3470 b may have formed very close to its red dwarf star as a dry, rocky object. It then gravitationally pulled in hydrogen and helium gas from a circumstellar disk to build up a thick atmosphere. The disk dissipated many billions of years ago, and the planet stopped growing. The bottom illustration shows the disk as the system may have looked long ago. Observations by NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes have chemically analyzed the composition of GJ 3470 b's very clear and deep atmosphere, yielding clues to the planet's origin. Many planets of this mass exist in our galaxy. Credit: NASA, ESA, and L. Hustak

Probing a new class of exoplanet

For the first ever time, a team of scientists have analyzed the chemical composition of the atmosphere of a new class of exoplanet, called...
NASA’s TESS Mission Finds Its Smallest Planet Yet

NASA’s TESS discovers the smallest exoplanet it has ever found

NASA's TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) spacecraft is continuing to find exoplanets frequently since it began operations and now it has discovered its smallest...
Artist’s impression of the exoplanet HAT-P-11b with its extended helium atmosphere blown away by the star, an orange dwarf star smaller, but more active, than the Sun.© Denis Bajram

An exoplanet inflated like a balloon

Helium is the second most plentiful component in the Universe. Anticipated since 2000 as extraordinary compared to other conceivable tracers of the climates of...
An artist’s concept of a super-Earth in the habitable zone of a star smaller and cooler than the sun. Such large planets could have long-lasting magma oceans that generate magnetic fields capable of protecting incipient life. The graphic was created to model Kepler-62f, one of many exoplanets discovered by NASA’s now inoperable Kepler space telescope. (Image courtesy of NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/Tim Pyle)

What magnetic fields can tell us about life on other planets?

Earth has a magnetic field – it’s what makes compasses align north-south and lets us navigate the oceans. It also protects the atmosphere, and...
Artwork of exoplanet HR 8799 c Credit: W. M. Keck Observatory/Adam Makarenko

Exoplanet stepping stones

Astronomers at the Caltech have obtained some of the best and the more robust data yet on the composition of a planet known as HR...
Direct Wircam image of 2MASS 0249 system taken wiht CFHT's infrared camera WIRCam. 2MASS 0249c is located 2000 astronomical units from the host brown dwarfs that are unresolved in this image. Credits: T. Dupuy, M. Liu

Astronomers discovered a famous exoplanet’s Doppelgänger

In a new discovery, astronomers have imaged another planet, and it shows up about identical to a standout amongst other studied gas-giant planets. However, this...