NASA'S Spitzer Finds Water Vapor on Hot, Alien Planet

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.

The Dwarf Planet Known as Eris is More Massive than Pluto, New Data Shows

Die-hard Pluto fans still seeking redemption for their demoted planet have cause for despair this week. New data shows that the dwarf planet Eris is 27 percent more massive than Pluto, thereby strengthening the decree last year that there are eight planets in the solar system and a growing list of dwarf planets.

Caltech Astrophysicist Peter Goldreich Wins $1 Million International Shaw Prize

Peter Goldreich, the Lee A. DuBridge Professor of Astrophysics and Planetary Physics, Emeritus, has been named winner of the 2007 Shaw Prize for astronomy by the Shaw Prize Foundation of Hong Kong. The announcement was made Tuesday, June 12, at foundation headquarters in Hong Kong.

Caltech Seismologist Hiroo Kanamori Awarded Kyoto Prize by Inamori Foundation

Hiroo Kanamori, one of the world's leading authorities on earthquakes, has been awarded the 23rd annual Kyoto Prize by the Inamori Foundation of Japan. The announcement was made today in Kyoto.

Astronomers Find Their Third Planet With Novel Telescope Network

Astronomers using the Trans-atlantic Exoplanet Survey (TrES) network of small telescopes are announcing today their discovery of a planet twice the mass of Jupiter that passes in front of its star every 31 hours. The planet is in the constellation Hercules and has been named TrES-3 as the third planet found with the TrES network.

Some Earth-like Worlds May Have Foliage of Colors Other Than Green, Researchers Say

In the next decade, when scientists are able to study Earth-sized worlds around other stars, they may find that foliage on some of the planets is predominantly yellow—or orange, or red. It all depends on the color of the star the planet orbits and the stuff that makes up the planet's atmosphere.

Caltech's Planet Hunter Mike Brown Wins Annual Feynman Prize for Teaching

On a campus where scientific research can be pretty challenging for the uninitiated, Mike Brown's search for new bodies in the outer solar system is as refreshingly straightforward as, well, the brightly colored marble spheres that sit on his shelf. Each sphere represents a Kuiper-belt object he has found in the last few years, including Eris, which led to the demotion of Pluto to the status of "dwarf planet."

Kuiper-belt Object Was Broken up by Massive Impact 4.5 Billion Years Ago, Study Shows

In the outer reaches of the solar system, there is an object known as 2003 EL61 that looks like and spins like a football being drop-kicked over the proverbial goalpost of life.

Astronomers Puzzled by Spectra of Transiting Planet Orbiting Nearby Star

A team of astronomers led by Carl Grillmair of the California Institute of Technology has discovered some puzzling things about a Jupiter-sized planet that passes in front of a nearby star in the constellation Vulpecula.

Geologists Provide New Evidence for Reason Behind Rise of Life in Cambrian Period

Geologists have uncovered evidence in the oil fields of Oman that explains how Earth could suddenly have changed 540 million years ago to favor the evolution of the single-celled life forms to the multicellular forms we know today.


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