“A Twin Earth?” –Sunlight Observed from a Rare Sun-Like Star, Sitting in the Habitable Zone


G Type Star


The most abundant types of star in our Milky Way galaxy are red dwarfs, hosting the bulk of our galaxy’s planet population reports NASA’s Hubble Site, which could number tens of billions of alien worlds. Among the more than 4,000 known exoplanets, is planet KOI-456.04 –less than twice the size of Earth, it orbits, Kepler-160, much liker our life-giving G-type main-sequence Sun (image above), sometimes referred to as a yellow dwarf, that formed approximately 4.6 billion years ago from the gravitational collapse of matter within a region of a large molecular cloud. And it does so with a star-planet distance that could permit planetary surface temperatures conducive to life.


“Birth of an Exoplanet” –First Direct Evidence of a Star System Being Born

AB Aurigae Star System


“Thousands of exoplanets have been identified so far, but little is known about how they form,” says Anthony Boccaletti at the Observatoire de Paris, about observations made with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) that have revealed the first direct evidence of a star system, AB Aurigae, being born. Astronomers know planets are born in dense dusty discs surrounding young stars, like AB Aurigae, as cold gas and dust clump together.


“So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish” –Water Worlds Like Earth May Not Be Best Bet for Life

"So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish" --Ocean Physics May Hold Key to Finding Life on Exoplanets


“The small amount of previous work on exoplanet oceans focused mostly on their climate impact,” said University of Chicago associate professor Dorian Abbot about a new study that suggests that in the search for alien life, planets exactly like Earth may not be best places to look. The research starts the process of “assessing the impact that ocean circulation has on nutrient cycling, biological productivity and, potentially, the detectability of life on exoplanets.”


“The Alien Planet So Light It Would Float on Water”


Star HD 88111


On March 25, 2020, in the midst of the lockdown to contain the coronavirus, the European Space Agency declared the CHEOPS space telescope “mission-ready” for science, handing over the responsibility to operate CHEOPS to the mission consortium, which consists of scientists and engineers from approximately 30 institutions in 11 European countries. Measurements by CHEOPS are five times more accurate than those from Earth-based telescopes.


“Buried in Kepler’s Data” –Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planet

"Buried in Kepler's Data" --Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planet


A team of transatlantic scientists discovered an Earth-like planet it orbiting a red dwarf, Kepler-1649c, when looking through old observations from Kepler, which the agency retired in 2018. While previous searches with a computer algorithm misidentified it, researchers reviewing Kepler data took a second look at the signature and recognized it as a planet. Out of all the thousands of exoplanets found by Kepler, this distant world – located 300 light-years from Earth – is most similar to Earth in size and estimated temperature.


“Warping Spacetime to Explore Uncharted Realms” –NASA Seeks Out Hidden Planets at Milky Way’s Center

Milky Way Center


NASA’s WFIRST’s infrared telescope will explore uncharted regions of the galaxy for exoplanets due to the different goals of previous missions. Kepler, for example, searched a modest-sized region of about 100 square degrees with 100,000 stars at typical distances of around a thousand light-years. TESS scans the entire sky and tracks 200,000 stars; however their typical distances are around 100 light-years. WFIRST will search roughly 3 square degrees, but will follow 200 million stars at distances of around 10,000 light-years.