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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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ESO astronomers observe exoplanet where it rains molten iron

The ESO finds another exoplanet that's definitely not a place for us to go.

Image source: diversepixel/MrVander/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • WASP-76b is an extremely hot planet whose cooler side has a surface temperature of 1,500° C (2732° F).
  • Iron that evaporates in the heat of the planet's day side rains down in molten form on the night side.
  • ESO learned more about the planet's intense climate thanks to its new ESPRESSO (Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet and Stable Spectroscopic Observations) instrument.
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Photo credit: Tom White / Getty Images
  • A new study suggests that the moons of gas-giant exoplanets may break away into their own orbits, called "ploonets."
  • Planet + moon = ploonet.
  • As the gas giants move inward toward their suns, the orbits of their moons are often disrupted, according to new computer models.
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NASA's A.I. Discovers a Second Solar System With 8 Planets, Just Like Ours

A machine learning algorithm has shown it can discover planets from weak signals overlooked in the Kepler spacecraft’s database.

The Kepler planetary system and ours. Credit: NASA/Ames Research Center/Wendy Stenzel

Humans in the Western world for a long time thought that Earth was the center of the universe. At one point, it was heresy not to think so. After the heliocentric universe was adopted, we felt smaller and less self-important. But we’d also gained something, new knowledge and a new avenue in which to explore the heavens. That was a paradigm shift in our understanding and now, it’s happening again.

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Start Planet-Hunting Right Now - Scientists Release Star Data and Search Tools to Public

Scientists release observation data from 1,600 stars in hopes the public can help find planets that orbit stars outside our solar system.

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