Astronomers have detected wildly changing temperatures on a super Earth – the first time any atmospheric variability has been observed on a rocky planet outside the solar system – and believe it could be due to huge amounts of volcanic activity, further adding to the mystery of what had been nicknamed the ‘diamond planet’.
The discovery of water vapour in the atmospheres of three exoplanets includes the most precise measurement of any chemical in a planet outside the solar system, and has major implications for planet formation and the search for water on Earth-like habitable exoplanets in future.
A Cambridge-led outreach project is connecting over 2,200 pupils with the excitement of ESA’s Gaia mission through a Q&A session that will take place tomorrow with the discussion streamed live to schools throughout Europe.
European Space Agency announces broad plan for major space science missions over the next two decades, with Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy involved at the highest levels.
Astronomers have discovered enormous smooth shapes that look like vapour trails in a gigantic galaxy cluster. These ‘arms’ span half a million light years and provide researchers with clues to a billion years of collisions within the “giant cosmic train wreck” of the Coma cluster.
Once only science fiction, astronomers are now finding hundreds of planetary systems beyond our own. Given recent discoveries through space exploration, it is entirely feasible that we may soon discover the existence of extra-terrestrial life forms on other planets.