Archives

July 2016


We report magnetic field measurements for Kappa1~Cet, a proxy of the young Sun when life arose on Earth.

Phosphorus is a crucial element in biochemistry, especially the P-O bond, which is key for the formation of the backbone of the deoxyribonucleic acid.

Clouds form on extrasolar planets and brown dwarfs where lightning could occur. Lightning is a tracer of atmospheric convection, cloud formation and ionization processes as known from the Solar System, and may be significant for the formation of prebiotic molecules.

Water is the key to life on Earth. Scientists continue to unravel the mystery of life on Mars by investigating evidence of water in the planet's soil.

The presence of short-lived radioisotopes (SLRs) in solar system meteorites has been interpreted as evidence that the solar system was exposed to a supernova shortly before or during its formation.

Polarized scattering in planetary atmospheres is computed in the context of exoplanets. The problem of polarized radiative transfer is solved for a general case of absorption and scattering, while Rayleigh and Mie polarized scattering are considered as most relevant examples.

Normally computers speed up calculations. But with his new pen-and-paper formula Kevin Heng of the University of Bern gets his results thousands of times faster than using conventional computer codes.

We present results of an investigation into the formation of nitrogen-bearing molecules in the atmosphere of Titan.

Star-like objects with effective temperatures of less than 2,700 kelvin are referred to as ultracool dwarfs.

We investigate how night side cooling and surface friction impact surface temperatures and large scale circulation for tidally locked Earth-like planets.

We present a model of early planetary atmospheres which represents the cumulative gaseous chemical species that are accreted onto planets forming by core accretion from an evolving protoplanetary disk.

Proxima Centauri is an M dwarf approximately 15,000 AU from the Alpha Centauri binary, comoving and likely in a loosely bound orbit.

Astronomers at KU Leuven, Belgium, have shown that the interaction between the surface and the atmosphere of an exoplanet has major consequences for the temperature on the planet.

Young stars are often surrounded by dense, rotating discs of gas and dust, known as protoplanetary discs, from which planets are born.

We present 1.3 mm observations of the Sun-like star τ Ceti with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) that probe angular scales of ∼1'' (4 AU).

The detection of anomalies in gravitational microlensing events is nowadays one of the main goals among the microlensing community.

Should we expect most habitable planets to share the Earth's marbled appearance? Terrestrial planets within the habitable zone are thought to display a broad range of water compositions, due to the stochastic nature of water delivery.

If the origin of life is common on other worlds, the universe should be a cosmic zoo full of complex multicellular organisms.

A microbial partnership thriving in an acidic hot spring in Yellowstone National Park has surrendered some of its lifestyle secrets to researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Since its detection in 2014, the brown dwarf known as WISE 0855 has fascinated astronomers. Only 7.2 light-years from Earth, it is the coldest known object outside of our solar system and is just barely visible at infrared wavelengths with the largest ground-based telescopes.

We employed the SERENDIP III system with the Arecibo radio telescope to search for possible artificial extraterrestrial signals. Over the four years of this search we covered 93% of the sky observable at Arecibo at least once and 44% of the sky five times or more with a sensitivity of ~3E-25 W/m2.

A new reconstruction of Antarctic ocean temperatures around the time the dinosaurs disappeared 66 million years ago supports the idea that one of the planet's biggest mass extinctions was due to the combined effects of volcanic eruptions and an asteroid impact.

Early life forms on Earth are likely to have mutated and evolved at much higher rates than they do today, suggests a new analysis from researchers at the University of North Carolina.

Super Earths are the largest population of exoplanets and are seen to exhibit a rich diversity of compositions as inferred through their mean densities.

If conditions had been just a little different an eon ago, there might be plentiful life on Venus and none on Earth.

One of the most fundamental topics of exobiology concerns the identification of stars with environments consistent with life. Although it is believed that most types of main-sequence stars might be able to support life, particularly extremophiles, special requirements appear to be necessary for the development and sustainability of advanced life forms.

NASA's Cassini and Huygen's missions have provided a wealth of data about chemical elements found on Saturn's moon Titan, and Cornell scientists have uncovered a chemical trail that suggests prebiotic conditions may exist there.

Hitching a ride in the Soyuz capsule with Tim Peake, Yuri Malenchenko and Tim Kopra were 46 species of small organisms and more than 150 organic compounds. Their voyage was even more intense than the astronaut trio's - these samples spent 18 months in space, bolted to the outside of the International Space Station.