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Planet Recipe Cooked Up

Just add pebbles, stir, and get a planet. Is it real science, or just a game show?

SETI Believers Are Lost in Space

How long can you say "watch this space" till onlookers lose interest?

Planet Rotation Limits Habitability

Life can't exist on a planet that rotates too fast or slow. This is another Goldilocks problem for astrobiologists to consider.

SETI Advocates Try to Persuade Congress for Funds

In hopes of keeping funding flowing, the SETI Institute promised US congresspersons that scientists will find extraterrestrial life in our lifetime.

Water Theories Dry Up

Theories for how Earth got its water are parched for evidence, except for the tears of secular astronomers.

The Spin on Planets

As the orbs whirl around Sol, human understanding of our space neighborhood rises and falls.

Extrasolar Planets: Bigger and More Mortal

Many of the stars and planets found by the Kepler spacecraft are not earthlike. Also, astronomers have seen planets destroyed by their stars.

More Evidence Our Solar System Is Uniquely Suited for Life

With over 2,000 extrasolar planets found around nearly as many stars, there's still no place like home.

Star Chemistry Constrains Habitable Zone

The chemistry of a parent star can have drastic effects on the habitability of an earth-like planet.

Doomed Worlds: Planets Seen Disrupting, Not Forming

Much as astrobiologists would like to see the birth of a new planet, the ones we observe seem to be dying, not being born.

Observations Upset Models of Stellar Evolution

Stellar evolution models go back decades. Ever since the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram came out in 1910 (graphing temperature against luminosity), showing most stars fell on a line called the “main sequence”, astrophysicists have sought to understand the life cycle of stars from birth to death. In general, the story goes, collapsing clouds of gas and dust produce main-sequence stars that burn nuclear fuel till they run out. Depending on their masses, they end up as supernovae, red giants or slowly-cooling cinders. While red dwarfs cool down slowly into the darkness, supernovae and red giants eject mass outward into space . Two new planets found close to a red giant are among new headaches for theorists.
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