Planets that lie outside our solar system.

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Method to determine the amount of reflected starlight necessary for an exoplanet to be visible from a given distance/angle?

What is the method to determine the amount of reflected starlight necessary for an exoplanet to be visible from a given distance/angle? (Not from occlusion but actually visible on its own.) Further, ...
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Could a theoretical cube shaped planet have a moon? [migrated]

I'm inventing a constructed world for a personal exercise in writing, and I was wondering if a theoretical cube shaped planet could have a moon. Is that physically possible? I am going on the ...
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how far away could we detect that earth has life?

My guess is that life bearing planets are too far apart to be detected. I think we can only find the ones within a sphere around our planet that is 100s of light years in diameter but I suspect life ...
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Likelihood of a stable system with a dwarf planet's orbit inside that of a gas giant

I keep thinking of various planetary system configurations, and would like to know: What are the fundamental references based on Monte Carlo long-term simulation of planetary systems' evolution that ...
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Would an exoplanet without axial tilt have no seasons?

Would an Earth analog exoplanet which rotates around a solar analog, but without axial tilt, have no seasons? Would it be similar to how Los Angeles does not have very noticeable seasons compared to ...
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What day/night cycles, climate and seasons would experience Alpha Centauri Bb inhabitants?

Alpha Centauri Bb is an exoplanet orbiting Alpha Centauri B. It is asserted that given the close distance to the star the planet should be tidally locked. The orbiting period of the planet is about ...
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Is it possible that only one hemisphere of a planet has an atmosphere?

Suppose there is a tidally locked planet orbiting a star. The planet's surface consists of a global ocean, that is, liquid water. At the inner hemisphere the temperature is so high that the water is ...
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Why can't we detect water on Mars in the same way as in exoplanets?

Often I see news articles claiming astronomers found exoplanets with water. If we are capable of detecting water on such distant objects, why don't we employ similar methods to find water on Mars or ...
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Is it conceivable that the presence of chlorophyll (or similar) could be distinguishable from other chemicals on an exoplanet?

If an Earth-like exoplanet had a sufficiently extensive plant biosphere (i.e large forests, aquatic algal mats etc), is it at all conceivable that scientists could spectroscopically detect the ...
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Conditions on Hot Jupiters

Hot Jupiters are close to their parent star - after all, that's why they're so hot. Their atmospheres are thought to be slowly blown away by the parent star, and they will eventually become chthonian ...
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Sedna, VP113 and the likelihood of the PX/Tyche/Thelistos hypotheses

Crosslisted question from http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/131876/sedna-vp113-and-the-likelihood-of-the-px-tyche-thelistos-hypotheses The recent discoveries in exoplanetary science ...
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Which spiral arm of the Milky Way is Kepler-62 in?

I am trying to find out which spiral arm of the Milky Way the star Kepler-62 and its planetary system are in. All I can find by Google searching is that it is part of the Lyra constellation, but I ...
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the length of second, minute or hour, what defines the time of exo planetary bodies

we measure time based on earth and earth mass\gravity plays a role in the measurement ? so how and what would be time if not earth time on other exo planets since they will be having different ...
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Are astronomers continuously monitoring exoplanetary systems?

I'm reading many of the Wikipedia pages about exoplanets and the different methods they are using to detect them. But I wonder, it seems that the emphasis is on detecting and finding new exoplanets, ...
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How would Alpha Centauri A appear from the surface of Alpha Centauri Bb?

I'm trying to imagine what a hypothetical observer on the surface of Alpha Centauri Bb would see in the daytime sky. I know it would vary depending on the orbit of b around B, as well as the position ...
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Exoplanet naming conventions

I'm looking for any exoplanet nomenclature, official, semi-official, proposed, or just a good idea, beyond what can already be found on Wikipedia at ...
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How do scientists know if an Earth-like planet is really Earth-like?

I'm not sure how scientists determine that a planet is really an Earth-like planet. How do they do it?
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How would an exoplanet be found from earth if our view of its star system is “from the top”?

When we find an exoplanet by observing the dimming of its parent star, this means that the planet passes in front of the star from our view. What if our view of a star system is from its "top" or ...
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Max. speed that a space probe can communite with the Earth? [closed]

Question: Which is the average or maximum speed of a telematically sent message that a space probe can send? Is as simple as radio waves travel at the speed of light in a vacuum? Context: I have been ...
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What are the differences between TESS and PLATO exoplanet telescopes?

Within a year now it has been decided to launch TESS in 2017 and PLATO in 2024, space telecopes of NASA and ESA. They seem to have very similar science goals, both searching for transiting Earth sized ...
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Galactic Habitable Zone

Do galaxies have habitable zones the same as stars do? Say in a galaxy with a very active nucleus producing a lot of heat and radiation, would there be a point at which no star's planets could harbor ...
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Is Earth's 1g solid surface gravity unusually high for exoplanets?

The surface gravities of the Sun’s planets are all close to 1g, 0.38-2.53 (about a factor of e, by chance). The cloud-top gravity of the gas giants is not too interesting here, but I suppose that the ...
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What is the maximum number of planets in the habitable zone?

At present, it seems like we are alone in our solar system. How many earth-like planets would fit into the habitable zone of the solar system? The orbits should be stable for quite a time, i.e. for ...
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Are many exoplanets synchronously tidally locked like Mercury?

The only tidally locked planet in the Solar system i Mercury. But it is synchronously tidally locked 3:2, because of the relatively high eccentricity of its orbit, so doesn't turn the same side ...
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How many earth-like planets do we know at this moment?

Well, the title says everything... How many earth-like planets have we discovered out there? Discard too big (made of gas), too cold, too hot, etc. Consider earth-like sun distance, size, temperature, ...
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If oxygen was abundant in Neptune, would there be combustion?

Since Neptune/Uranus have high percentages of methane, wouldn't it be highly likely that there will be combustion (triggered by the lightning storms or any other factor) if oxygen was abundant? And ...
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Motion of rogue planets

Two Questions: 1) Are rogue planets in motion, i.e. are they just wandering freely in space or stationary? 1) Do rogue planets have defined path or a one which can be anticipated? I understand that ...
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What does the term alien planet actually refer to?

This article left me wondering what do they mean by the term alien planet? Aren't all planets simply alien by default, or do they mean planets outside our solar system are alien? Do they mean there is ...
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How close are we to having the technology to measure planetary obliquity for exoplanets?

As far as I can tell, we do not yet have the precision to even put reasonable bounds on an exoplanets obliquity, but wikipedia seems to indicate that this may be possible in the "near future." It ...
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Is it possible for a moon to orbit a planet floating free in the galaxy rather than orbiting a star

This article got me thinking, can a planet hold a moon in orbit if it is just floating in the galaxy by itself not as part of a star system? Can a celestial body even qualify as a planet if it is ...
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Hypothetical beyond Neptune far away planets orbiting the Sun

The planet HD 106906 b was found at 650 AU from its home star, which is not a star much different from the Sun. Fomalhaut b is also a young planet that is orbiting very far away from its sun. These ...
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How would we detect an Earth doppelganger planet?

With our current technology, or technology available in the near future (up to 2025), how would we detect a planet exactly like our own, and how close would it have to be to be detectable? Which ...
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Climate modeling of exoplanets

These notes from an exoplanet talk discuss modeling the climate of exoplanets. How would we do that with our current technology? Would data be primarily gathered by spectrum analysis?
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Colossus telescope, trying to outsmart aliens?

I was listening to Jeff Kuhn's talk on SETI's Colossus telescope project. Background: He explains his theory that a civilization living somewhere the galaxy would want to hide, and thus would ...
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Planned telescope to detect alien waste-heat

I remember watching a talk by someone who designed a telescope to view a single star at a time. The purpose of the telescope was to detect waste-heat which would presumably be emitted by any ...
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How many sun-like stars are there in the universe?

After yesterday's announcement of the Kepler telescope finding a huge amount of newly observed exoplanets, i saw a headline claiming that as much as 22% of sun like stars in the universe have planets ...
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Why are some planets so close to their star?

"Kepler-10b orbits its parent star once every 0.84 days, which means it is more than 20 times closer to its star than Mercury is to our sun" space.com Are there any accepted theories that ...
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When will we be able to detect Earth-sized exoplanets?

I have heard that the only planets able to be seen outside the Solar system are Jovian-sized planets with the occasional detection of planets three times the Earth's size. But, as far as I know, we ...
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What is the orbital path of the newly discovered star-less planet PSO J318.5-22?

Recent results from Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa claim that there is a Jupiter-sized gas giant planet that is independent of a star about 80 light-years from Earth. ...
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Which is the closest exoplanet to Earth?

The closest star to Earth (after the Sun) is well-known: Alpha Centauri, 4.3 light years away. But what about the closest exoplanet to Earth, outside of the Solar System?
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What observational constraints are there in detecting the presence of volcanism on exoplanets?

This question is somewhat related to my earlier question How are the compositional components of exoplanet atmospheres differentiated?, but this about a specific surface-atmospheric phenomena - ...
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What practical considerations are there for amateur observations of transiting exoplanets?

Obviously, I am not referring to actual viewing of the exoplanets themselves, but detecting their effects on the brightness of the light emitted from the parent star (as in the diagram below from The ...
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What is the current accepted theory for the fate of hot Jupiters?

It is well established that one main feature of many hot jupiters is their close proximity to their parent star, usually the equivalent of being within the orbit of Mercury. So, these planets are gas ...
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Is the surface of TrES-2b actually dark?

The exoplanet TrES-2b is known as the darkest planet ever found, reflecting <1% of the light that hits it. What does it mean in respect to the surface? What would we see below the atmosphere of ...
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Do any known exoplanetary/solar bodies have “annular” eclipses similar to Earth's?

This was somewhat inspired by this question but is a bit different: I am interested in if there are any known systems in which the angular size of the eclipsing object is almost the same as the ...
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What percent of planets are in the position that they could be viewed edge-on from Earth? (and thus able to undergo transits)

Star number 12644769 from the Kepler Input Catalog was identified as an eclipsing binary with a 41-day period, from the detection of its mutual eclipses (9). Eclipses occur because the orbital ...
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What proportion of planetary systems have been found with 'Hot Jupiters'

According to the NASA website "The strange attraction of Hot Jupiters", one of the main types of exoplanets that have been detected are Hot Jupiters, which are These are behemoth worlds that ...
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How hot can a planet be?

Given that some exoplanets, particular "Hot Jupiters", orbit very closely to their parent star, how hot can these planets become? What is the hottest exoplanet discovered so far?
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What is the most extreme weather found on another planet?

On Venus, there is really inhospitable weather, as well as within the gas giants in our solar system. Are there examples of even more extreme weather on planets found in other solar systems than ours? ...
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How are the compositional components of exoplanet atmospheres differentiated?

How are exoplanetary atmosphere compositional spectra distinguished from those of the parent star(s), from the composition of the planetary surface or any other factor? Is it actually possible to ...