11/27/2012 16:29:47
Ann Motrunich
The confirmed count of planets in other solar systems has skyrocketed to more than 850, plus thousands of identified candidates. The opportunity to characterize so many solar systems has brought together Caltech planetary scientists and astronomers, who are forming a Center for Planetary Astronomy.
10/16/2012 09:21:57
Marcus Woo
Two Caltech faculty members have been awarded Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering. Biologist Alexei Aravin and astronomer John Johnson each were awarded $875,000, to be distributed over five years.
12/02/2011 08:00:00
Marcus Woo

Discoveries of new planets just keep coming and coming. A team of astronomers led by scientists at Caltech have found 18 Jupiter-like planets in orbit around massive stars.

08/09/2011 07:00:00
Marcus Woo

Like so many things in life, it all started with a girl. In fifth grade, the girl who sat next to Keith Hawkins every day in class would check out encyclopedias and look up subjects in astronomy, admiring pictures of swirling galaxies and colorful nebulae. Hawkins would join her, and the two of them would sit together and gaze at the heavens, one page at a time.

11/29/2010 08:00:00
Kathy Svitil

Earlier this month, Eris—the distant world first discovered by Caltech's Mike Brown and colleagues back in 2005, paving the way for the eventual demotion of Pluto from planet to dwarf planet—passed fortuitously in front of a faint star in the constellation Cetus. That passage, or occultation, allowed the first direct measurement of Eris's size.

10/20/2010 07:00:00
Marcus Woo

As a kid, Assistant Professor of Astronomy John Johnson wasn't interested in astronomy—or even science for that matter. But now, as an assistant professor of astronomy, he's discovering entirely new worlds. In an interview, he talks about the search for planets and the rapidly evolving field of exoplanet astronomy.

07/27/2010 23:00:00
Kathy Svitil

Hundreds of extrasolar planets have been found, most solitary worlds orbiting their parent star in seeming isolation. Further observation has revealed that planets come in bunches. Most systems contain planets orbiting too far from one another to feel each other's gravity. In a handful of cases, planets have been found near enough to one another to interact gravitationally. Now, however, Caltech's John A. Johnson and his colleagues have found two systems with pairs of gas giant planets locked in an intimate orbital embrace.

01/13/2010 08:00:00
Kathy Svitil

Astronomers from Caltech and other institutions, using the highly sensitive 10-meter Keck I telescope atop Hawaii's Mauna Kea, have detected an extrasolar planet with a mass just four times that of Earth. The planet, which orbits its parent star HD156668 about once every four days, is the second-smallest world among the more than 400 exoplanets (planets located outside our solar system) that have been found to date.

08/06/2007 07:00:00
Robert Tindol
An international team of astronomers has discovered the largest-radius and lowest-density exoplanet of all those whose mass and radius are known. It is a gas-giant planet about twice the size of Jupiter, and is likely to have a curved cometlike tail. It has been named TrES-4, to indicate that it is the fourth planet detected by the Trans-atlantic Exoplanet Survey (TrES) network of telescopes.
07/11/2007 07:00:00
Robert Tindol
The exoplanet HD 189733b has just been found to have water vapor in its atmosphere. The observation provides the best evidence to date that water exists on worlds outside our own solar system.
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