Extrasolar Planets


Magma Oceans with a Steam Atmosphere: Detectability by Future Direct Imaging

Magma Oceans with a Steam Atmosphere: Detectability by Future Direct Imaging

We present the thermal evolution and emergent spectra of solidifying terrestrial planets along with the formation of steam atmospheres.


The Snow Line - Water Delivery to Terrestrial Planets in the Habitable Zone

The Snow Line - Water Delivery to Terrestrial Planets in the Habitable Zone

The water ice or snow line is one of the key properties of protoplanetary disks that determines the water content of terrestrial planets in the habitable zone.


The Bulk Composition of Exo-planets

The Bulk Composition of Exo-planets

Priorities in exo-planet research are rapidly moving from finding planets to characterizing their physical properties. Of key importance is their chemical composition, which feeds back into our understanding of planet formation.


Characterizing Habitable Zones of Exoplanetary Systems with Large Ultraviolet/Visible/Near-IR Space Observatory

Characterizing Habitable Zones of Exoplanetary Systems with Large Ultraviolet/Visible/Near-IR Space Observatory

Understanding the surface and atmospheric conditions of Earth-size, rocky planets in the habitable zones (HZs) of low-mass stars is currently one of the greatest astronomical endeavors.


Variability in the Super-Earth 55 Cnc e

Variability in the Super-Earth 55 Cnc e

Considerable progress has been made in recent years in observations of atmospheric signatures of giant exoplanets, but processes in rocky exoplanets remain largely unknown due to major challenges in observing small planets.


Transient Sulfate Aerosols as a Signature of Exoplanet Volcanism

Transient Sulfate Aerosols as a Signature of Exoplanet Volcanism

Geological activity is thought to be important for the origin of life and for maintaining planetary habitability. We show that transient sulfate aerosols could be a signature of exoplanet volcanism, and therefore a geologically active world.


Using Near IR Spectroscopy For Characterization of Transiting Exoplanets

Using Near IR Spectroscopy For Characterization of Transiting Exoplanets

We propose a method for observing transiting exoplanets with near-infrared high-resolution spectrometers. We aim to create a robust data analysis method for recovering atmospheric transmission spectra from transiting exoplanets over a wide wavelength range in the near infrared.


Modeling The Surface Temperature of Earth-like Planets

Modeling The Surface Temperature of Earth-like Planets

We introduce a novel Earth-like planet surface temperature model (ESTM) for habitability studies based on the spatial-temporal distribution of planetary surface temperatures.


Robotically Discovering Earth's Nearest Neighbors

Robotically Discovering Earth's Nearest Neighbors

A team of astronomers using ground-based telescopes in Hawaii, California, and Arizona recently discovered a planetary system orbiting a nearby star that is only 54 light-years away. All three planets orbit their star at a distance closer than Mercury orbits the sun, completing their orbits in just 5, 15, and 24 days.


Tau Ceti: The Next Earth? Probably Not

Tau Ceti: The Next Earth? Probably Not

As the search continues for Earth-size planets orbiting at just the right distance from their star, a region termed the habitable zone, the number of potentially life-supporting planets grows.


NASA GISS to Help Lead Search For Habitable Exoplanets

NASA GISS to Help Lead Search For Habitable Exoplanets

NASA announced this week the creation of the Nexus for Exoplanet Systems Science network that will study planets beyond our solar system for habitability and other features tapping the expertise of researchers at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies , Goddard Space Flight Center and other locations.


A Catalog of Stellar Evolution Profiles and the Effects of Variable Composition on Habitable Systems

A Catalog of Stellar Evolution Profiles and the Effects of Variable Composition on Habitable Systems

We present stellar evolution models for 0.5 - 1.2 \Msol at scaled metallicities of 0.1 - 1.5 Z\sol and O/Fe values of 0.44 - 2.28 O/Fe\sol.


3D Climate Modeling of Earth-like Extrasolar Planets Orbiting Different Types of Host Stars

3D Climate Modeling of Earth-like Extrasolar Planets Orbiting Different Types of Host Stars

The potential habitability of a terrestrial planet is usually defined by the possible existence of liquid water on its surface.


Water Ice Lines and Mars-mass Exomoons Around Accreting Super-Jovian Planets

Water Ice Lines and Mars-mass Exomoons Around Accreting Super-Jovian Planets

Exomoon detections might be feasible with NASA's Kepler or ESA's upcoming PLATO mission or the ground-based E-ELT. To use observational resources most efficiently we need to know where the largest, most easily detected moons can form.


NASA's Search for Water and Habitable Planets

NASA's Search for Water and Habitable Planets

NASA Television will air an event from 1 2 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 7, featuring leading science and engineering experts discussing the recent discoveries of water and organics in our solar system, the role our sun plays in water-loss in neighboring planets, and our search for habitable worlds among the stars.


Detecting Biospheres from Thermodynamic Disequilibrium in Planetary Atmospheres

Detecting Biospheres from Thermodynamic Disequilibrium in Planetary Atmospheres

Atmospheric chemical disequilibrium has been proposed as a method for detecting extraterrestrial biospheres from exoplanet observations.


Earth-like Tatooines From Star Wars May Be Common

Earth-like Tatooines From Star Wars May Be Common

Luke Skywalker's home in "Star Wars" is the desert planet Tatooine, with twin sunsets because it orbits two stars.


Hubble Search for Transit of the Earth-mass Exoplanet Alpha Centauri Bb

Hubble Search for Transit of the Earth-mass Exoplanet Alpha Centauri Bb

Results from exoplanet surveys indicate that small planets (super-Earth size and below) are abundant in our Galaxy. However, little is known about their interiors and atmospheres.


Calculations Show Planets in the Habitable Zone Around Most Stars

Calculations Show Planets in the Habitable Zone Around Most Stars

Astronomers have discovered thousands of exoplanets in our galaxy, the Milky Way, using the Kepler satellite and many of them have multiple planets orbiting the host star.


Habitability of Water Worlds

Habitability of Water Worlds

There are four different stable climate states for pure water atmospheres, as might exist on so-called "waterworlds".



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