Astronomers are on the cusp of new discoveries in the search for distant planets that could have life. But budget cuts are forcing this branch of space exploration to turn to smaller, less-ambitious projects.
The moon's ruddy color during the lunar eclipse tonight is caused by sunlight filtering through Earth's atmosphere. It's what astronomers look at when distant planets pass in front of their own stars.
Gliese 581g would be the first Earth-like planet found orbiting in a star's habitable zone. The new plant is located in a region where temperatures could sustain life and liquid water on its surface.
By gauging the subtle differences in light given off by a planet 1,000 light-years away, it shows that it's up to the job.