Extrasolar Planets


Making Planets in the Laboratory

Making Planets in the Laboratory

New laser-driven compression experiments reproduce the conditions deep inside exotic super-Earths and giant planet cores, and the conditions during the violent birth of Earth-like planets, documenting the material properties that determined planets' formation and evolution processes.


Nearby M Star With Three Transiting Super-Earths Discovered by K2

Nearby M Star With Three Transiting Super-Earths Discovered by K2

Small, cool planets represent the typical end-products of planetary formation. Studying the architectures of these systems, measuring planet masses and radii, and observing these planets' atmospheres during transit directly informs theories of planet assembly, migration, and evolution.


Extrasolar Planets Are More Hospitable to Life Than Previously Thought

Extrasolar Planets Are More Hospitable to Life Than Previously Thought

A study by astrophysicists at the University of Toronto suggests that exoplanets - planets outside our solar system - are more likely to have liquid water and be more habitable than we thought.


Ammonia, Water Clouds and Methane Abundances of Giant Exoplanets and Opportunities for Super-Earth Exoplanets

Ammonia, Water Clouds and Methane Abundances of Giant Exoplanets and Opportunities for Super-Earth Exoplanets

Future direct-imaging exoplanet missions such as WFIRST/AFTA, Exo-C, and Exo-S will measure the reflectivity of exoplanets at visible wavelengths.


Planet Formation in Post-common-envelope Binaries

Planet Formation in Post-common-envelope Binaries

To understand the evolution of planetary systems, it is important to investigate planets in highly evolved stellar systems, and to explore the implications of their observed properties with respect to potential formation scenarios.


Planetary Systems in Star Clusters

Planetary Systems in Star Clusters

In the solar neighborhood, where the typical relaxation timescale is larger than the cosmic age, at least 10% to 15% of Sun-like stars have planetary systems with Jupiter-mass planets. In contrast, dense star clusters, charactered by frequent close encounters, have been found to host very few planets.


Deciphering Thermal Phase Curves of Dry, Tidally Locked Terrestrial Planets

Deciphering Thermal Phase Curves of Dry, Tidally Locked Terrestrial Planets

Next-generation space telescopes will allow us to characterize terrestrial exoplanets. To do so effectively it will be crucial to make use of all available data.


Potentially Habitable Planets Orbiting M Dwarfs

Potentially Habitable Planets Orbiting M Dwarfs

We present an improved estimate of the occurrence rate of small planets around small stars by searching the full four-year Kepler data set for transiting planets using our own planet detection pipeline and conducting transit injection and recovery simulations to empirically measure the search completeness of our pipeline.


The Persistence of Oceans on Earth-like Planets: Insights from the Deep-Water Cycle

The Persistence of Oceans on Earth-like Planets: Insights from the Deep-Water Cycle

In this paper we present a series of models for the deep water cycle on super-Earths experiencing plate tectonics.


Twelve Small Kepler Transiting Planets in the Habitable Zone

Twelve Small Kepler Transiting Planets in the Habitable Zone

We present an investigation of twelve candidate transiting planets from Kepler with orbital periods ranging from 34 to 207 days, selected from initial indications that they are small and potentially in the habitable zone (HZ) of their parent stars.


Eight New Planets Found in

Eight New Planets Found in "Goldilocks" Zone

Astronomers announced today that they have found eight new planets in the "Goldilocks" zone of their stars, orbiting at a distance where liquid water can exist on the planet's surface. This doubles the number of small planets (less than twice the diameter of Earth) believed to be in the habitable zone of their parent stars. Among these eight, the team identified two that are the most similar to Earth of any known exoplanets to date.


New Instrument Reveals Recipe for Other Earths

New Instrument Reveals Recipe for Other Earths

How do you make an Earth-like planet? The "test kitchen" of Earth has given us a detailed recipe, but it wasn't clear whether other planetary systems would follow the same formula.


Super-Earths Have Long-Lasting Oceans

Super-Earths Have Long-Lasting Oceans

For life as we know it to develop on other planets, those planets would need liquid water, or oceans.


Constraining Radiation and Plasma Environment of Kepler Circumbinary Habitable Zone Planets

Constraining Radiation and Plasma Environment of Kepler Circumbinary Habitable Zone Planets

The remarkable discovery of many planets and candidates using the Kepler telescope even includes ten planets orbiting eight binaries. Three out of the eight, Kepler 16, Kepler 47, and KIC 9632895, have at least one planet in the circumbinary habitable zone (BHZ).


Extremely Compact System of 5 sub-Earth-size Planets transiting a Seismic K Dwarf

Extremely Compact System of 5 sub-Earth-size Planets transiting a Seismic K Dwarf Video in Story

Remarkably, this is the most compact system ever found, being characterized by a concentration of dynamically packed planets below 0.1 AU with adjacent planet pairs lying close to strong 5:4, 4:3, 5:4, and 5:4 orbital resonances.


New Method for Finding Habitable Planets in Binary Star Systems

New Method for Finding Habitable Planets in Binary Star Systems

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


Life on an Aquaplanet

Life on an Aquaplanet

An MIT study finds an exoplanet, tilted on its side, could still be habitable if covered in ocean.


What Asteroseismology Can Do for Exoplanets

What Asteroseismology Can Do for Exoplanets

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 Occurrence of Earth-Like Planets Around Other Stars

The Occurrence of Earth-Like Planets Around Other Stars

The quantity η⊕, the number density of planets per star per logarithmic planetary radius per logarithmic orbital period at one Earth radius and one year period, describes the occurrence of Earth-like extrasolar planets.


The Habitable Zones of Pre-Main-Sequence Stars

The Habitable Zones of Pre-Main-Sequence Stars

We calculate the pre-main-sequence HZ for stars of spectral classes F to M. The spatial distribution of liquid water and its change during the pre-main-sequence phase of protoplanetary systems is important in understanding how planets become habitable.



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