exoplanets

Not for coffee aficionados: what does ESPRESSO mean?

More power to look at exoplanets and their atmospheres. For the first time, starlight from one of the Unit Telescopes (UT) that make up ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has been successfully channelled 60 metres…


At birth: first the arms, then the rest

Spirals can be found throughout nature, from the smallest sea shells to the largest galaxies. As stars from from clouds of gas, the gravitational pull of a star will collapse the gases into a disk…


Flat ‘n’ Fast

Like a sped-up movie, planets orbiting stars that spin rapidly might go through their seasons in double time. Earth’s seasons come from the planet’s tilt: as we orbit the sun, one hemisphere leans towards it,…


A view from Proxima Centauri

What if you traveled to Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun at the moment, and looked back in our direction? You would notice a slightly different constellation of Cassiopeia in the sky. The…


Tabby Boyajian’s Star

In the upcoming issue of AAS Astrophysical Letters there’s a free article about Boyajianʼs Star, the star that dimmed in a weird way when observed by Kepler. Among the many possible explanations, the one that…


Ta-Ta-Tatooine

A team of astronomers have used the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope to image the first planet ever found in a wide orbit inside a triple-star system. The orbit of such a planet…


The next Tatooine connection

If you cast your eyes toward the constellation Cygnus, you’ll be looking in the direction of the largest planet yet discovered around a double-star system. It’s too faint to see with the naked eye, but…