Astronomy: December 2014

UT Arlington astrophysicist offers new method for finding regions favorable for life in stellar binary systems.

We describe three useful applications of asteroseismology in the context of exoplanet science: (1) the detailed characterisation of exoplanet host stars; (2) the measurement of stellar inclinations; and (3) the determination of orbital eccentricity from transit duration making use of asteroseismic stellar densities.

The data recently accumulated by the Kepler mission have demonstrated that small planets are quite common and that a significant fraction of all stars may have an Earth-like planet within their Habitable Zone.

A key discovery of the Kepler mission is of the circumbinary planets known as "Tatooines", which appear to be well aligned with their host stars' orbits.

Astronomers have measured the passing of a super-Earth in front of a bright, nearby Sun-like star using a ground-based telescope for the first time.