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For the past few decades, scientists have been looking at planets outside of our solar system to see if they could host life. Now, scientists have discovered another factor for habitability: radiation from the planet’s central star.

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In recent decades the search for extraterrestrial life has seen major advancements in technology and methodology. The search for biosignatures on exoplanets around stars similar to ours has brought about new questions, such as: “How will we know life exists on another planet without visiting it?” To answer this…

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We know very little about the insides of planets. For Earth, scientists have been able to use seismic waves to map out the various layers. For planets like Jupiter and Saturn, however, who are mostly made up of gases like hydrogen and helium, they have had to resort to developing computer models to understand their…

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On a clear night you might easily see Jupiter, Mars or other planets from our solar system. This is how astronomers from thousands of years ago discovered the first planets. We cannot directly observe planets that are farther out in our solar system, as are Neptune and Uranus, so, of course, we cannot see planets that…

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Thanks to NASA’s Kepler Mission, over one-thousand potentially habitable exoplanets have been discovered to-date, orbiting around their respective stars. An exoplanet refers to any planet outside of our solar system. The discoveries of these worlds are a major accomplishment for us, but the question still persists:…

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The airborne Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a flying observatory aboard a modified Boeing 747 that takes infrared astronomy readings at approximately 41,000 feet above the Earth’s surface. It recently observed a mini-eclipse of the extrasolar planet named “GJ 1214b”. Scientists wanted…

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Our understanding of astrophysics states that we should be seeing co-orbiting planets when astronomers look through their telescopes. Co-orbiting planets are planets of roughly similar size that have overlapping orbits around their host star. These two planets orbit so closely to each other that they influence the…