Results tagged “extrasolar”

Few nighttime sights offer more drama than the full Moon rising over the horizon. Now imagine that instead of the Moon, a gas giant planet spanning three times more sky loomed over the molten landscape of a lava world. This alien vista exists in the newly discovered two-planet system of Kepler-36.

Building a terrestrial planet requires raw materials that weren't available in the early history of the universe.

Cubesats and Extrasolar Planets

How a Pocket-Size Satellite Could Find Another Earth, Time

What makes ExoplanetSat even more un-NASA-like is that it began as a class project -- although admittedly, the class was at MIT. It was a design-and-build course, which the university's engineering students have to take in order to graduate. In a recent semester, the class was co-taught by Sara Seager, an astrophysicist who has done groundbreaking research studying how the atmospheres of planets orbiting distant stars might look like from earthly telescopes. Seager recruited five science undergrads to join her engineers, on the theory that out in the real world, they'd eventually have to work with engineers anyway.

In the search for Earth-like planets, it is helpful to look for clues and patterns that can help scientist narrow down the types of systems where potentially habitable planets are likely to be discovered.

The EXOEarths team (Centro de Astrofisica da Universidade do Porto - CAUP), in collaboration with Geneva University, did a joint analysis of data from the HARPS spectrograph and the Kepler satellite. This analysis revealed that the orbits of other planetary systems are aligned, like in a disk, just like in our own Solar System.

We study HIP 56948, the best solar twin known to date, to determine with an unparalleled precision how similar is to the Sun in its physical properties, chemical composition and planet architecture. We explore whether the abundances anomalies may be due to pollution from stellar ejecta or to terrestrial planet formation.

Kepler Explorer App

Kepler Explorer App Puts Distant Planets at Fingertips

"Now available for free from the iTunes App Store, Kepler Explorer was developed through the OpenLab initiative at UC Santa Cruz, which brought together faculty and students in astrophysics, art, and technology for a summer institute last year. The Kepler Explorer team includes astrophysicist Jonathan Fortney, a member of the Kepler science team; two of his graduate students, Eric Lopez and Caroline Morley; artist Kyle McKinley, a recent graduate of the Digital Arts and New Media program; and John Peters, a recent graduate of the computer game design program."

Oscillations in the Habitable Zone around Alpha Centauri B

"The Alpha Centauri AB system is an attractive one for radial velocity observations to detect potential exoplanets. The high metallicity of both Alpha Centauri A and B suggest that they could have possessed circumstellar discs capable of forming planets. As the closest star system to the Sun, with well over a century of accurate astrometric measurements (and Alpha Centauri B exhibiting low chromospheric activity) high precision surveys of Alpha Centauri B's potential exoplanetary system are possible with relatively cheap instrumentation."

Finding New Planets in Old Data

Planets Found in Decade-Old Hubble Data

"In a painstaking re-analysis of Hubble Space Telescope images from 1998, astronomers have found visual evidence for two extrasolar planets that went undetected back then. Finding these hidden gems in the Hubble archive gives astronomers an invaluable time machine for comparing much earlier planet orbital motion data to more recent observations. It also demonstrates a novel approach for planet hunting in archival Hubble data."

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