Eight more Exoplanets discovered, two are most Earth-like yet

As you may recall, I’ve already written somewhat extensively about exoplanets and super-Earths. In what turned into an unexpectedly long article, I explained what qualifies a cosmic body as an exoplanet and the distinctions between exoplanets and super-Earths. I’m sure we’re all pros on this stuff, but I’ll review the actual definitions of these terms in a hot second. According to a report released a couple days ago, there have been some more exoplanets discovered, all of which orbit in the ‘Goldilocks zones’ of their host stars. And cooler than that, two of those eight exoplanets are thought to be more similar to our home planet of Earth than any others that have been discovered to date. Compared to the...

Getting to know super-Earths and a mysterious exoplanet

Results from NASA’s Kepler mission — launched to discover Earth-like terrestrial planets that orbit within or near the habitable zone of their host stars — have indicated that the most common planets in the galaxy are so-called super-Earths. Characterized as being larger in size than Earth but smaller than Neptune, there are no super-Earths in our own solar system, so astronomers have been using powerful space telescopes to learn more about these mysterious worlds. Most recently, the Hubble telescope was used to study the planet HD 97658b, which resides in the Leo constellation. With results from the Kepler mission and observations from Hubble, astronomers are making more accurate inferences as to not only the planetary composition of our galaxy, but also...