Extrasolar Planets


Triaxial Deformation and Asynchronous Rotation of Rocky Planets in the Habitable Zone of Low-Mass Stars

Triaxial Deformation and Asynchronous Rotation of Rocky Planets in the Habitable Zone of Low-Mass Stars

Rocky planets orbiting M-dwarf stars in the habitable zone tend to be driven to synchronous rotation by tidal dissipation, potentially causing difficulties for maintaining a habitable climate on the planet.


The Equilibrium Temperature of Planets in Elliptical Orbits

The Equilibrium Temperature of Planets in Elliptical Orbits

There exists a positive correlation between orbital eccentricity and the average stellar flux that planets receive from their parent star. Often, though, it is assumed that the average equilibrium temperature would correspondingly increase with eccentricity.


UV Surface Habitability of the TRAPPIST-1 System

UV Surface Habitability of the TRAPPIST-1 System

With the discovery of rocky planets in the temperate habitable zone (HZ) of the close-by cool star TRAPPIST-1 the question of whether such planets could also harbour life arises.


Spitzer Telescope Telescope Reveals Largest Batch of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star

Spitzer Telescope Telescope Reveals Largest Batch of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.


Pale Orange Dots: The Impact of Organic Haze on the Habitability and Detectability of Earthlike Exoplanets

Pale Orange Dots: The Impact of Organic Haze on the Habitability and Detectability of Earthlike Exoplanets

Hazes are common in known planet atmospheres, and geochemical evidence suggests early Earth occasionally supported an organic haze with significant environmental and spectral consequences. The UV spectrum of the parent star drives organic haze formation through methane photochemistry.


Studying Ancient Earth To Understand Hazy Exoplanets

Studying Ancient Earth To Understand Hazy Exoplanets

For astronomers trying to understand which distant planets might have habitable conditions, the role of atmospheric haze has been hazy.


Planets of Red Dwarf Stars May Face Oxygen Loss in Habitable Zones

Planets of Red Dwarf Stars May Face Oxygen Loss in Habitable Zones Video in Story

The search for life beyond Earth starts in habitable zones, the regions around stars where conditions could potentially allow liquid water - which is essential for life as we know it - to pool on a planet's surface.


Discovery of Water at High Spectral Resolution in the Atmosphere of 51 Peg b

Discovery of Water at High Spectral Resolution in the Atmosphere of 51 Peg b

We report the detection of water absorption features in the dayside spectrum of the first-known hot Jupiter, 51 Peg b, confirming the star-planet system to be a double-lined spectroscopic binary.


Characterizing Exoplanets for Habitability

Characterizing Exoplanets for Habitability

A habitable exoplanet is a world that can maintain stable liquid water on its surface. Techniques and approaches to characterizing such worlds are essential, as performing a census of Earth-like planets that may or may not have life will inform our understanding of how frequently life originates and is sustained on worlds other than our own.


ESO Signs Agreement with Breakthrough Initiatives: VLT to Search for Planets in Alpha Centauri System

ESO Signs Agreement with Breakthrough Initiatives: VLT to Search for Planets in Alpha Centauri System Video in Story

ESO has signed an agreement with the Breakthrough Initiatives to adapt the Very Large Telescope instrumentation in Chile to conduct a search for planets in the nearby star system Alpha Centauri.


Illusion and Reality in the Atmospheres of Exoplanets

Illusion and Reality in the Atmospheres of Exoplanets

The atmospheres of exoplanets reveal all their properties beyond mass, radius, and orbit. Based on bulk densities, we know that exoplanets larger than 1.5 Earth radii must have gaseous envelopes, hence atmospheres.


Characterization of the Wolf 1061 Planetary System

Characterization of the Wolf 1061 Planetary System

A critical component of exoplanetary studies is an exhaustive characterization of the host star, from which the planetary properties are frequently derived. Of particular value are the radius, temperature, and luminosity, which are key stellar parameters for studies of transit and habitability science.


Searching Through a Sea of Noise to Find Exoplanets

Searching Through a Sea of Noise to Find Exoplanets

Yale researchers have found a data-driven way to detect distant planets and refine the search for worlds similar to Earth.


A Framework to Combine Low- and High-resolution Spectroscopy for the Atmospheres of Transiting Exoplanets

A Framework to Combine Low- and High-resolution Spectroscopy for the Atmospheres of Transiting Exoplanets

Current observations of the atmospheres of close-in exoplanets are predominantly obtained with two techniques: low-resolution spectroscopy with space telescopes and high-resolution spectroscopy from the ground.


Detection of the Atmosphere of the 1.6 Earth Mass Exoplanet GJ 1132b

Detection of the Atmosphere of the 1.6 Earth Mass Exoplanet GJ 1132b

Detecting the atmospheres of low-mass low-temperature exoplanets is a high-priority goal on the path to ultimately detect biosignatures in the atmospheres of habitable exoplanets.


Cloud Formation in Carbon- and Oxygen-rich Environment

Cloud Formation in Carbon- and Oxygen-rich Environment

Recent observations indicate potentially carbon-rich exoplanet atmospheres. Spectral fitting methods for brown dwarfs and exoplanets have invoked the C/O ratio as additional parameter but carbon-rich cloud formation modeling is a challenge for the models applied.


Timing the Shadow of a Potentially Habitable Extrasolar Planet

Timing the Shadow of a Potentially Habitable Extrasolar Planet

A group of researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), the University of Tokyo, and the Astrobiology Center among others has observed the transit of a potentially Earth-like extrasolar planet known as K2-3d using the MuSCAT instrument on the Okayama Astrophysical Observatory 188-cm telescope.


Atmospheric Habitable Zones in Y Dwarf Atmospheres

Atmospheric Habitable Zones in Y Dwarf Atmospheres

We use a simple organism lifecycle model to explore the viability of an atmospheric habitable zone (AHZ), with temperatures that could support Earth-centric life, which sits above an environment that does not support life.


On the Possibility of Habitable Trojan Planets in Binary Star Systems

On the Possibility of Habitable Trojan Planets in Binary Star Systems

Approximately 60 percent of all stars in the solar neighbourhood (up to 80 percent in our Milky Way) are members of binary or multiple star systems. This fact led to the speculations that many more planets may exist in binary systems than are currently known.


Effects of Variable Eccentricity on the Climate of an Earth-like World

Effects of Variable Eccentricity on the Climate of an Earth-like World

The Kepler era of exoplanetary discovery has presented the Astronomical community with a cornucopia of planetary systems very different from the one which we inhabit.



Top stories from February.