Comparison photos of a sunspot group shot December 26, 2015 using McDonald Observatory's solar viewing system. At left, the view from the system's new Semmes camera. At right, the view from the old Semmes camera. (Kevin Mace/McDonald Observatory)
This artist's concept shows the orbit of the newly discovered Jupiter-mass planet orbiting the star HD 32963, compared to the orbits of Earth and Jupiter around the Sun. Credit: Stefano Meschiari/McDonald Observatory
This artist's concept shows the relative sizes and separation of the star HD 32963 and its newly discovered Jupiter-mass planet. Credit: Stefano Meschiari/McDonald Observatory
McDonald Observatory astronomer Natalie Gosnell and her team used the open star cluster NGC 188 as a laboratory to study stellar evolution. Credit: Digitized Sky Survey 2 (STScI/AURA, Palomar/Caltech, and UKSTU/AAO)
Left: A normal star in a binary system gravitationally pulls in matter from an aging companion star that has swelled to a bloated red giant that has expanded to a few hundred times of its original size. Right: After a couple hundred million years the red giant star has burned out and collapsed to the white dwarf that shines intensely in ultraviolet wavelengths. The companion star has bulked up on the hydrogen siphoned off of the red giant star to become much hotter, brighter and bluer than it was previously. Credit: NASA/ESA, A. Feild (STScI)
This image shows a region of the CANDELS GOODS-South field, which is one of the fields used in this study. This image combines data taken from Hubble Space Telescope's optical and near-infrared cameras, and contains galaxies at a range of distances. The larger galaxies are relatively close by, while the smallest specks hail from the earlier universe. Some of the smallest dots in this image are those used in this study; their light is coming from 0.5 to 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang.
The regular brightness pulsations (red) of white dwarf star PG1149+057 are visibly affected by an outburst (green). Such outbursts have been detected in two pulsating white dwarfs to date, and astronomers plan to hunt for more examples. (Credit: J.J. Hermes/Univ. of Warwick/NASA)
This size and scale of the Kepler-452 system compared alongside the Kepler-186 system and the solar system. Kepler-186 is a miniature solar system that would fit entirely inside the orbit of Mercury.
Scientists using data from NASA's Kepler mission have confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a sun-like star. The habitable zone is the region around a star where temperatures are just right for water to exist in its liquid form.
The artistic concept compares Earth (left) to the new planet, called Kepler-452b, which is about 60 percent larger. The illustration represents one possible appearance for Kepler-452b — scientists do not know whether the planet has oceans and continents like Earth.
This artist's concept depicts one possible appearance of the planet Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-size world to be found in the habitable zone of star that is similar to the Sun. The habitable zone is a region around a star where temperatures are right for water — an essential ingredient for life as we know it — to pool on the surface. Scientists do not know if Kepler-452b can support life or not.