A new study involving long-term monitoring of Alpha Centauri by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory indicates that any planets orbiting the two brightest stars are likely not being pummeled by large amounts of X-ray radiation from their host stars. This is important for the viability of life in the nearest star system outside the Solar System. Chandra data from May 2nd, 2017 are seen in the pull-out, which is shown in context of a visible-light image taken from the ground of the Alpha Centauri system and its surroundings. Alpha Centauri is a triple star system located just over four light years, or about 25 trillion miles, from Earth. While this is a large distance in terrestrial terms, it is three times closer than the next nearest Sun-like star. Credits: Optical: Zdenek Bardon; X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Colorado/T. Ayres et al.

Chandra Scouts Nearest Star System for Possible Hazards

Chandra Scouts Nearest Star System for Possible Hazards In humanity’s search for life outside our Solar System, one of the best places scientists have considered…

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An illustration of TESS as it passed the Moon during its lunar flyby. This provided a gravitational boost that placed TESS on course for its final working orbit. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA’s New Planet Hunter Snaps Initial Test Image, Swings by Moon Toward Final Orbit

NASA’s New Planet Hunter Snaps Initial Test Image, Swings by Moon Toward Final Orbit NASA’s next planet hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), is…

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The exoplanet WASP-107b is a gas giant, orbiting a highly active K-type main sequence star. The star is about 200 light-years from Earth. Using spectroscopy, scientists were able to find helium in the escaping atmosphere of the planet — the first detection of this element in the atmosphere of an exoplanet. Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA, M. Kornmesser

Hubble detects helium in the atmosphere of an exoplanet for the first time

Hubble detects helium in the atmosphere of an exoplanet for the first time Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have detected helium in the…

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This artist’s illustration shows what the sky might look like from a planet in a particularly dusty solar system. Dust that orbits a star in the plane of the solar system is called zodiacal dust, and the light reflected and scattered by that dust is called zodiacal light. The Hunt for Observable Signatures of Terrestrial Systems, or HOSTS, survey was tasked with learning more about the effect of zodiacal dust on the search for new worlds, to help guide the design of future planet-hunting missions. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Stellar Dust Survey Paves Way for Exoplanet Missions

Stellar Dust Survey Paves Way for Exoplanet Missions Veils of dust wrapped around distant stars could make it difficult for scientists to find potentially habitable…

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NASA’s next planet-hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), successfully launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 on April 18, 2018. TESS will search for new worlds outside our solar system for further study. Credits: NASA Television

NASA Planet Hunter on Its Way to Orbit

NASA Planet Hunter on Its Way to Orbit NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launched on the first-of-its-kind mission to find worlds beyond our solar…

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NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) successfully launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9. NASA Television

NASA’s planet-hunting spacecraft TESS is now on its mission to search for new worlds

NASA’s planet-hunting spacecraft TESS is now on its mission to search for new worlds NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) successfully launched on a SpaceX…

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New images from the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope are revealing the dusty discs surrounding nearby young stars in greater detail than previously achieved. They show a bizarre variety of shapes, sizes and structures, including the likely effects of planets still in the process of forming. Credit: ESO/H. Avenhaus et al./E. Sissa et al./DARTT-S and SHINE collaborations

SPHERE Reveals Fascinating Zoo of Discs Around Young Stars

SPHERE Reveals Fascinating Zoo of Discs Around Young Stars New images from the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope are revealing the dusty discs…

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Credits: Credit: NASA/Ames/Wendy Stenzel

Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Science Data Pipeline

Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Science Data Pipeline A Science Pipeline to New Planet Discoveries NASA’s ongoing search for life in the universe produces a…

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The Milky Way, our own galaxy, stretches across the sky above the La Silla telescope in Chile. Hidden inside our own galaxy are trillions of planets, most waiting to be found. Credits: ESO/S. Brunier

What in the World is an ‘Exoplanet?’

What in the World is an ‘Exoplanet?’ Step outside on a clear night, and you can be sure of something our ancestors could only imagine:…

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Imagined view from Kepler-10b, a planet that orbits one of the 150,000 stars that the Kepler spacecraft is monitoring. NASA/Kepler Mission/Dana Berry, CC BY

Goodbye Kepler, hello TESS: Passing the baton in the search for distant planets

Goodbye Kepler, hello TESS: Passing the baton in the search for distant planets Imagined view from Kepler-10b, a planet that orbits one of the 150,000…

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Illustration of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Telescope (TESS) in front of a lava planet orbiting its host star. TESS will identify thousands of potential new planets for further study and observation. Credits: NASA GSFC

NASA Prepares to Launch Next Mission to Search Sky for New Worlds

NASA Prepares to Launch Next Mission to Search Sky for New Worlds NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is undergoing final preparations in Florida for…

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Blue light from a newborn star lights up the reflection nebula IC 2631. This nebula is part of the Chamaeleon star-forming region, which Webb will study to learn more about the formation of water and other cosmic ices. Credits: European Southern Observatory (ESO)

NASA’s Webb Telescope to Make a Splash in Search for Interstellar Water

NASA’s Webb Telescope to Make a Splash in Search for Interstellar Water Water is crucial for life, but how do you make water? Cooking up…

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Hubble uncovers a vast, complex dust structure, about 150 billion miles across, enveloping the young star HR 4796A. A bright, narrow inner ring of dust is already known to encircle the star, based on much earlier Hubble images. This newly discovered huge dust structure around the system may have implications for what a yet-unseen planetary system looks like around the 8-million-year-old star. Credits: NASA/ESA/G. Schneider (Univ. of Arizona)

Hubble Finds Huge System of Dusty Material Enveloping the Young Star HR 4796A

Hubble Finds Huge System of Dusty Material Enveloping the Young Star HR 4796A Astronomers have used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to uncover a vast, complex…

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