“Mystery of the Blobs” –Hubble Reveals Dry and Lifeless Red Dwarf Planets

AU_Microscopii Red Dwarf

 

Our Sun is not one of the most abundant types of star in our Milky Way galaxy. That award goes to red dwarfs, stars that are smaller and cooler than our Sun. In fact, red dwarfs presumably contain the bulk of our galaxy’s planet population reports NASA’s Hubble Site, which could number tens of billions of worlds.

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TESS Finds a New Planet Orbiting a Bright Dwarf Star

 

TESS orbiting M Dwarf Star

 

“It’s the coolest small planet that we know of around a star this bright,” says Diana Dragomir, a postdoc in MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, who led the new discovery.

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New Habitable Kepler World –“Human Eyes Found It Hidden in the Data”

Neptune Exoplanet

 

NASA’s Kepler Mission K2 team announced the discovery of another new world today, two months after the Kepler spacecraft ran out of fuel on Oct. 30th, and ended its mission after nine years, during which it discovered 2,600 confirmed planets around other stars – the bulk of those now known – along with thousands of additional candidates astronomers are working to confirm.

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Intelligent Alien Life –“Clues May Lie Buried in Kepler Mission Data” (A 2018 Most Viewed)

Habitable Exoplanet

 

“The search for planets is the search for life,” said Natalie Batalha, a Kepler mission scientist from NASA’s Ames Research Center. “These results will form the basis for future searches for life.”

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“The Sapphire Planet” –Exotic Class of Exoplanets Detected

Sapphire Planet

 

“What’s exciting is that these objects are completely different from the majority of Earth-like planets,” says  Caroline Dorn, astrophysicist at the Institute for Computational Science of the University of Zurich – “if they actually exist.” It’s very likely they do, says Dorn and the astrophysicists who made the discovery.

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“Alien Mirage” — Oxygen and Organic Molecules May Not Indicate Life

Red Dwarf Star

 

“Our experiments produced oxygen and organic molecules that could serve as the building blocks of life in the lab, proving that the presence of both doesn’t definitively indicate life,” says Chao He, assistant research scientist in the Johns Hopkins University Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the study’s first author. “Researchers need to more carefully consider how these molecules are produced.”

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