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Extrasolar Planets: March 2014


The Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) is a dedicated facility for directly imaging and spectroscopically characterizing extrasolar planets.

Our understanding of the processes that are relevant to the formation and maintenance of habitable planetary systems is advancing at a rapid pace, both from observation and theory.

Earth is the only known example of an inhabited planet in the universe, so the search for alien life has focused on Earth-like worlds.

In another step forward in the search for habitable planets, a team of researchers based out of the US and Chile announced that they have located a large swarm of comets and gas moving in a cloud around a nearby star.

Scientists searching for habitable planets beyond Earth shouldn't overlook F-type stars in favor of their more abundant, smaller and cooler cousins, according to new research from University of Texas at Arlington physicists.

Recent results from the Kepler mission indicate that super-Earths (planets with masses between 1-10 times that of the Earth) are the most common kind of planet around nearby Sun-like stars.

HARPS and it Kepler results indicate that half of solar-type stars host planets with periods P<100 d and masses M < 30 M_E.

Despite years of high accuracy observations, none of the available theoretical techniques has yet allowed the confirmation of a moon beyond the Solar System.

When we think of where else life might exist in the universe, we tend to focus on planets. But on a grander cosmic scale, moons could prove the more common life-friendly abode.

Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) are part of a research team that has detected water vapor in the atmosphere of a planet outside our solar system.

Models of planet formation have shown that giant planets have a large impact on the number, masses and orbits of terrestrial planets that form.

The "holy grail" in planet hunting is the detection of an Earth-analog: a planet with similar mass as the Earth and an orbit inside the habitable zone.

Alien planets circling the most common stars in the universe may often have strange lobster-shaped oceans on their surfaces, researchers in China now say.

We developed an idealized two-column model to investigate the climate of tidally locked terrestrial planets with Earth-like atmospheres in the habitable zone of M-dwarf stars.

Detection of life on other planets requires identification of biosignatures, i.e., observable planetary properties that robustly indicate the presence of a biosphere.

University of Arizona researchers snapped images of a planet outside our solar system with an Earth-based telescope using essentially the same type of imaging sensor found in digital cameras instead of an infrared detector.

Astronomers at the University of Washington have developed a new method of gauging the atmospheric pressure of exoplanets, or worlds beyond the solar system, by looking for a certain type of molecule.

Three new planets classified as habitable-zone super-Earths are amongst eight new planets discovered orbiting nearby red dwarf stars by an international team of astronomers from the UK and Chile.