Archives

June 2017


ALMA has observed stars like the Sun at a very early stage in their formation and found traces of methyl isocyanate -- a chemical building block of life.

Emission of fullerenes in their infrared vibrational bands has been detected in space near hot stars.

Oxygen isotopes in marine cherts have been used to infer hot oceans during the Archean with temperatures between 60 deg C (333 K) and 80 deg C (353 K). Such climates are challenging for the early Earth warmed by the faint young Sun.

As part of a wider search for radio emission from nearby systems known or suspected to contain extrasolar planets ϵ Eridani was observed by the Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) in the 2-4 GHz and 4-8 GHz frequency bands.

Magnetically active stars possess stellar winds whose interaction with planetary magnetic fields produces radio auroral emission. We examine the detectability of radio auroral emission from Proxima b, the closest known exosolar planet orbiting our nearest neighboring star, Proxima Centauri.

In this time of rapid transition in exploring solar system bodies, the importance of reexamining planetary protection policies, including the need for clarity in how NASA establishes such policies, has become more urgent.

Since the mid-1990s, when the first planet around another Sun-like star was discovered, astronomers have been amassing what is now a large collection of exoplanets -- nearly 3,500 have been confirmed so far.

With continued improvement in telescope sensitivity and observational techniques, the search for rocky planets in stellar habitable zones is entering an exciting era. With so many exoplanetary systems available for follow-up observations to find potentially habitable planets, one needs to prioritise the ever-growing list of candidates.

The recent discovery of the planetary system hosted by the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 could open new perspectives into the investigation of planetary climates of Earth-sized exoplanets, their atmospheres and their possible habitability.

We present the analysis of emission lines in high-resolution optical spectra of the planet-host star Proxima Centauri (Proxima) classified as a M5.5V. We carry out the detailed analysis of observed spectra to get a better understanding of the physical conditions of the atmosphere of this star.

Recently, four additional Earth-mass planets were discovered orbiting the nearby ultracool M8 dwarf TRAPPIST-1, making a remarkable total of seven planets with equilibrium temperatures compatible with the presence of liquid water on their surface.

A team of astronomers at the University of Chicago and Grinnell College seeks to change the way scientists approach the search for Earth-like planets orbiting stars other than the sun.

In the last decade, over a million stars were monitored to detect transiting planets. Manual interpretation of potential exoplanet candidates is labor intensive and subject to human error, the results of which are difficult to quantify.

By detecting light from extrasolar planets,we can measure their compositions and bulk physical properties. The technologies used to make these measurements are still in their infancy, and a lack of self-consistency suggests that previous observations have underestimated their systemic errors.

With the advent of modern astronomy, humans might now have acquired the technological and intellectual requirements to communicate with other intelligent beings beyond the solar system, if they exist.

A University of Oklahoma post-doctoral astrophysics researcher, Billy Quarles, has identified the possible compositions of the seven planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system.

NASA scientists have found a wide diversity of minerals in the initial samples of rocks collected by the Curiosity rover in the lowermost layers of Mount Sharp on Mars, suggesting that conditions changed in the water environments on the planet over time.

Cassini discovered a plethora of neutral and ionised molecules in Titan's ionosphere including, surprisingly, anions and negatively charged molecules extending up to 13,800 u/q. In this letter we forward model the Cassini electron spectrometer response function to this unexpected ionospheric component to achieve an increased mass resolving capability for negatively charged species observed at Titan altitudes of 950-1300 km.

Cool dwarf stars are hot targets for exoplanet hunting right now. The discoveries of planets in the habitable zones of the TRAPPIST-1 and LHS 1140 systems, for example, suggest that Earth-sized worlds might circle billions of red dwarf stars, the most common type of star in our galaxy.

Kepler-452b is currently the best example of an Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a sun-like star, a type of planet whose number of detections is expected to increase in the future.

In a unique experiment, scientists used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to study two "hot Jupiter" exoplanets. Because these planets are virtually the same size and temperature, and orbit around nearly identical stars at the same distance, the team hypothesized that their atmospheres should be alike. What they found surprised them.