On the hunt for new exoplanets

A state-of-the-art instrument called NEID, from the Tohono O’odham word meaning “to see,” has officially started its scientific mission: discovering new planets outside of the solar system.

Erica K. Brockmeier

Giant comet found in outer solar system

The discovery of the comet estimated to 100-200 kilometers across was made by Penn researchers following a comprehensive search of data from the Dark Energy Survey. Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein is the most distant comet ever discovered and possibly the largest seen in modern times.

Erica K. Brockmeier

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In the News

USA Today

The largest comet ever discovered in modern times is zooming toward the sun

Gary Bernstein of the School of Arts & Sciences spoke about the giant comet he and Ph.D. candidate Pedro Bernardinelli discovered. "We have the privilege of having discovered perhaps the largest comet ever seen—or at least larger than any well-studied one—and caught it early enough for people to watch it evolve as it approaches and warms up," Bernstein said.


The New York Times

The largest comet ever found is making its move into a sky near you

Ph.D. candidate Pedro Bernardinelli and Gary Bernstein of the School of Arts & Sciences have discovered the largest comet ever observed, with a nucleus between 62 and 125 miles long.


NBC News

Our solar system’s mysterious ‘Planet 9’ may actually be a tiny, ancient black hole

Bhuvnesh Jain of the School of Arts and Sciences commented on a new theory that Planet 9 may actually be a tiny, primordial black hole: “From a theoretical standpoint, it’s exciting even if its plausibility right now is early to judge.”



Astronomers want to look for Planet X in Big Bang’s cosmic glow

The School of Arts and Sciences’ Eric Baxter, Bhuvnesh Jain, Cullen Blake, Gary Bernstein, and Mark Devlin co-authored a paper outlining ways to find undetected planets on the outskirts of our solar system.


Smithsonian Magazine

Astronomers discover second-closest know exoplanet

The School of Arts and Sciences’ Cullen Blake weighed in on the identification of an earth-like exoplanet called Barnard’s Star b. Blake said that while the data used to locate it may be muddied by nearby stellar activity, the exoplanet has been observed enough times to be a strong planetary candidate.