An international team of astronomers has found a system of seven potentially habitable planets orbiting a star 39 light years away three of which could have water on their surfaces raising the possibility they could host life. Using ground and space telescopes, the team identified the planets as they passed in front of the ultracool dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1. The star is around eight per cent of the mass of the Sun and is no bigger than Jupiter.
News for the Institute of Astronomy.
Astronomers are borrowing principles applied in biology and archaeology to build a family tree of the stars in the galaxy. By studying chemical signatures found in the stars, they are piecing together these evolutionary trees looking at how the stars formed and how they are connected to each other. The signatures act as a proxy for DNA sequences. It’s akin to chemical tagging of stars and forms the basis of a discipline astronomers refer to as Galactic archaeology.
The Magellanic Clouds, the two largest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, appear to be connected by a bridge stretching across 43,000 light years, according to an international team of astronomers led by researchers from the University of Cambridge. The discovery is reported in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS) and is based on the Galactic stellar census being conducted by the European Space Observatory, Gaia.
The first results from the Gaia satellite, which is completing an unprecedented census of more than one billion stars in the Milky Way, are being released today to astronomers and the public.
The discovery of two massive holes punched through a stream of stars could help answer questions about the nature of dark matter, the mysterious substance holding galaxies together.
An international exoplanet ‘think tank’ is meeting this week in Cambridge to deliberate on the ten most important questions that humanity could answer in the next decade about planets outside our solar system.
A young star over 30 times more massive than the Sun could help us understand how the most extreme stars in the Universe are born.
Two Earth-sized exoplanets have become the first rocky worlds to have their atmospheres studied using the Hubble Space Telescope.