Results tagged “exoplanet”

The Gemini Planet Imager: First Light

The Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) is a dedicated facility for directly imaging and spectroscopically characterizing extrasolar planets.

Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) are part of a research team that has detected water vapor in the atmosphere of a planet outside our solar system.

We developed an idealized two-column model to investigate the climate of tidally locked terrestrial planets with Earth-like atmospheres in the habitable zone of M-dwarf stars.

Detection of life on other planets requires identification of biosignatures, i.e., observable planetary properties that robustly indicate the presence of a biosphere.

University of Arizona researchers snapped images of a planet outside our solar system with an Earth-based telescope using essentially the same type of imaging sensor found in digital cameras instead of an infrared detector.

The atmospheric composition of transiting exoplanets can be characterized during transit by spectroscopy.

M type stars are good targets in the search for habitable extrasolar planets. Because of their low effective temperatures, the habitable zone of M stars is very close to the star itself.

During its four-year mission, NASA's Kepler space telescope discovered thousands of "planetary candidates" in our Milky Way galaxy -- the vast majority of which are almost certainly actual planets.

Most models used to predict or fit exoplanet transmission spectra do not include all the effects of atmospheric refraction.

To date, scientists have confirmed the existence of more than 900 exoplanets circulating outside our solar system.

Charged dust grains in the atmospheres of exoplanets may play a key role in the formation of prebiotic molecules, necessary to the origin of life. Dust grains submerged in an atmospheric plasma become negatively charged and attract a flux of ions that are accelerated from the plasma.

Researchers from Bern have developed a method to simplify the search for Earth-like planets: By using new theoretical models they rule out the possibility of Earth-like conditions, and therefore life, on certain planets outside our solar system -- and limit their search by doing so.

The Kepler space telescope has detected transits of objects as small as the Earth's Moon, and moons as small as 0.2 Earth masses can be detected in the Kepler data by transit timing and transit duration variations of their host planets.

Astronomers have discovered the first Earth-sized planet outside the solar system that has a rocky composition like that of Earth. Kepler-78b whizzes around its host star every 8.5 hours, making it a blazing inferno and not suitable for life as we know it. The results are published in two papers in the journal Nature.

Chemical disequilibrium has recently become a relevant topic in the study of the atmospheres of of transiting extrasolar planets, brown dwarfs, and directly imaged exoplanets. We present a new way of assessing whether or not a Jovian-like atmosphere is in chemical disequilibrium from observations of detectable or inferred gases such as H$_2$O, CH$_4$, CO, and H$_2$.

Recent simulations have shown that the formation of planets in circumbinary configurations (such as those recently discovered by Kepler) is dramatically hindered at the planetesimal accretion stage.

Detecting Biomarkers on Faraway Planets

On Earth, life leaves telltale signals in the atmosphere. Photosynthesis is ultimately responsible for the high oxygen levels and the thick ozone layer. Microbes emit methane and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere, and seaweeds emit chloromethane gas.

The field of exoplanetary science has experienced a recent surge of new systems that is largely due to the precision photometry provided by the Kepler mission. The latest discoveries have included compact planetary systems in which the orbits of the planets all lie relatively close to the host star, which presents interesting challenges in terms of formation and dynamical evolution.

We describe and report first results from PALM-3000, the second-generation astronomical adaptive optics facility for the 5.1-m Hale telescope at Palomar Observatory.

Habitable Worlds With No Signs of Life

'Most habitable worlds in the cosmos will have no remotely detectable signs of life' is proposed as a biological hypothesis to be tested in studies of exoplanets. Habitable planets could be discovered elsewhere in the Universe, yet there are many hypothetical scenarios whereby the search for life on them could yield negative results.

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