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Exoplanets

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Fox News

Fox News reporter Chris Ciaccia writes that a team of astronomers, including MIT researchers, has found an exoplanet that has a 3.14-day orbit. “The ‘pi planet’ known as K2-315b is relatively close to Earth at 186 light-years away,” writes Ciaccia.

Forbes

MIT researchers have discovered an Earth-sized planet, named K2-315b, which is being referred to as the “pi planet” for its 3.14 day orbit, reports Allison Gasparini for Forbes. “Having planets like K2-315b will help us to further understand the diverse planet bodies out there,” says graduate student Prajwal Niraula.

Boston Globe

Prof. Sara Seager speaks with Judi Ketteler of The Boston Globe about her new book, “The Smallest Light in the Universe.” Seager shares that the night sky still conjures up the same feelings of "awe and wonder,” that she felt as a child. “The only difference is, I wonder about the planets around those stars. I wonder if anyone’s on those looking back at us from their planet.”

Mashable

A study by MIT researchers uncovers evidence that the Earth’s global ice ages were triggered by a rapid drop in sunlight, reports Mashable. The researchers found that an “event like volcanic eruptions or biologically induced cloud formation will be able to block out the sun and limit the solar radiation reaching the surface at a critical rate that can potentially trigger ‘Snowball Earth’ events.”

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Martin Finucane writes about how TESS has discovered an Earth-sized planet orbiting a star 52 light years from Earth. “The new planet HD, 21749c, orbits the star HD 21749. It circles the star in 7.8 days,” Finucane explains. “The planet is probably rocky and uninhabitable, with temperatures on the surface of up to 800 degrees.”

Forbes

Forbes contributor Jamie Carter writes that TESS has identified an Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting a star 52 light years from Earth. The planet "takes about eight days to orbit the host star and is similar in size to Earth at 89% its diameter,” writes Carter. “A likely rocky world, it's thought to have surface temperatures as high as 800°F /427°C.”

CNN

The MIT-led TESS mission has discovered its first Earth-sized exoplanet, reports Ashley Strickland for CNN. “There was quite some detective work involved, and the right people were there at the right time,” says postdoctoral fellow Diana Dragomir. “But we were lucky, and we caught the signals, and they were really clear."

National Geographic

Prof. Sara Seager speaks with National Geographic reporter Jamie Shreeve about her work searching for an Earth-like planet orbiting a sunlike star. “You never know what’s going to happen,” Seager says. “But I know that something great is around those stars.”

Popular Science

Two months after its launch, the TESS satellite has already identified two new exoplanet candidates, reports Mary Beth Griggs for Popular Science. “The team is excited about what TESS might discover next,” explains Prof. Sara Seager, who is serving as the deputy science director for the mission.

United Press International (UPI)

The first image captured during the initial orbit of the MIT-developed TESS satellite shows thousands of stars in the Southern Sky, reports Brooks Hays for UPI. “Galaxies, globular clusters and thousands of stars can be found within the portrait of the Southern Sky. Hidden in the image are exoplanets,” writes Hays. 

Fox News

The MIT-developed TESS satellite has sent back its first batch of images of the southern sky from its quest to identify nearby exoplanets, reports writes Chris Ciacci for Fox News. Ciacci notes that the resulting images are “nothing short of incredible.”

Axios

Axios reporter Andrew Freeman writes that the TESS satellite has captured its first images of the southern sky. “This swath of the sky’s southern hemisphere includes more than a dozen stars we know have transiting planets based on previous studies from ground observatories,” explains MIT’s George Ricker, TESS’ principal investigator.

Gizmodo

Prof. Sara Seager and other top scientists recently urged members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to fund NASA’s hunt for extraterrestrial life, reports Ryan Mandelbaum of Gizmodo. In testimony, Seager noted that moon landings inspired current engineers, and for the next generation “the equivalent of that is the search for life.”

Xinhuanet

NASA’s TESS satellite, which is searching for planets outside our solar system, is expected to send back its first series of data in August, reports the Xinhua News Agency. The mission is being led by MIT researchers and will, “monitor the brightness of more than 200,000 stars over a period of two years, eyeing temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits,” according to Xinhua.

United Press International (UPI)

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) took its first picture of the stars as it moved toward its final orbit, reports Brooks Hays of United Press International. “The plethora of stars in the image -- at least 2,000 of them -- showcases the broad perspective provided by TESS's four cameras,” writes Hays.