With the help of citizen scientists, astronomers have discovered two highly unusual brown dwarfs, balls of gas that are not massive enough to power themselves the way stars do.
Would you like to be one of the firsts to participate in and test drive a new NASA citizen science project before it launches? We don't want to give away too much about it here but the topic is exoplanets (planets around stars beyond the sun) and anyone can take part with just a laptop or cell... Read More
You may have heard about the recent discovery of a new planet orbiting a pair of “eclipsing binary” stars led by summer intern Wolf Cukier and his mentor, Veselin Kostov, using data from NASA’s TESS mission. Eclipsing binaries are pairs of stars whose orbits are lined up in a handy way so the... Read More
Earth-like planets orbiting other stars can be 10 billion times dimmer than their host star. To detect these planets and to search for spectroscopic signatures of life in their atmospheres, a space telescope must be used, and the light from the host star must be blocked so the planet comes into... Read More
Future-generation large space telescopes under study at NASA will require very large, high-resolution, high-sensitivity, low-noise sensors capable of measuring ultraviolet through visible wavelengths.
This blog post originated in the 2017 Science Mission Directorate Technology Highlights Report (33 MB PDF).
A team of NASA optics experts has built a picometer spatial metrology system that may enable a major Agency initiative—to locate and image Earth-like planets beyond the solar system and scrutinize their atmospheres for signs of life. Researchers at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), in conjunction... Read More
Launch teams are standing down today to conduct additional Guidance Navigation and Control analysis, and teams are now working towards a targeted launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) on Wednesday, April 18.
The worlds orbiting other stars are called “exoplanets,” and they come in a wide variety of sizes, from gas giants larger than Jupiter to small, rocky planets about as big around as Earth or Mars. They can be hot enough to boil metal or locked in deep freeze. They can orbit their stars so tightly... Read More
Much like detectives study fingerprints to identify the culprit, scientists used NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes to find the “fingerprints” of water in the atmosphere of a hot, bloated, Saturn-mass exoplanet some 700 light-years away. And, they found a lot of water. In fact, the planet,... Read More
NASA’s next planet-hunting mission has arrived in Florida to begin preparations for launch. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is scheduled to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station nearby NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida no earlier than April... Read More
There's no map showing all the billions of exoplanets hiding in our galaxy -- they're so distant and faint compared to their stars, it's hard to find them. Now, astronomers hunting for new worlds have established a possible signpost for giant exoplanets.
Some 1,500 light years from Earth, a mystery of stellar proportions is playing out. A singular star out there captured scientists’ and the public’s imagination in September 2015 with its strangely fluctuating brightness.
Technology Development: Currently, astronomers can investigate Earth-sized exoplanets using only indirect methods such as detecting the changes in starlight as a planet passes in front of its star. The starshade (also known as an external occulter) is a spacecraft that will enable telescopes in... Read More