Exoplanets stories

 
So far, our search for Martians and other extraterrestrial forms of life hasn't quite panned out, but that doesn't stop us from continuing to look. Now astronomers at the University of Hertfordshire in England have discovered a new system of planets, which in many ways are remarkably similar to our own neighborhood and may even support life.
 
Well, this is pretty damn exciting: astronomers have confirmed the detection of a planet just 1.13 times the size of Earth orbiting around Alpha Centauri B, which is part of the closest star system to Earth. At just 4.3 light-years away, it's potentially reachable in just a few decades with near-term technology, and now we've got a place to land. Er, sort of.
 
Back in January of 2010, the Kepler Space Telescope was checking out a four-planet system called KOI-94, when it noticed something weird. Additional observations and recent analysis suggest that what Kepler saw was a double exoplanet transit, and since nobody's ever seen this before, astronomers have had to invent a brand new term to describe it: behold, an exosyzygy.
 
We love exoplanets here at DVICE. We just can't get enough of 'em. Over the last few years, astronomers have found a whole bunch of new worlds, some of which are potentially habitable by alien life, and a few of which may even be habitable by humans. But what exactly does "habitable" mean? What is it that we're looking for? The easy thing to say is that we're looking for a planet exactly like Earth, but really, it's a complicated question with a much more nuanced answer.

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