Archives

Extrasolar Planets: July 2014


With the discovery of hundreds of exoplanets and a potentially huge number of Earth-like planets waiting to be discovered, the conditions for their habitability have become a focal point in exoplanetary research.

In this paper, we investigate the conditions required for the 3 and 17 Earth mass solid planets in the Kepler-10 system to have formed through collisions and mergers within an initial population of embryos.

Observations of debris disks allow for the study of planetary systems, even where planets have not been detected.

This work is part of an ongoing project which aims to detect terrestrial planets in our neighbouring star system α Centauri using the Doppler method.

A team of astronomers has made the most precise measurements yet of water vapour in the atmospheres of Jupiter-like planets beyond our Solar System and found them to be much drier worlds than expected.

The recent discoveries of terrestrial exoplanets and super Earths extending over a broad range of orbital and physical parameters suggests that these planets will span a wide range of climatic regimes.

One of the primary goals of exoplanet science is to find and characterize habitable planets, and direct imaging will play a key role in this effort.

We present the results of our Hubble Space Telescope program and describe how our image analysis methods were used to re-evaluate the habitability of some of the most interesting Kepler planet candidates.

The M dwarf Gliese 581 is believed to host four planets, including one (GJ 581d) near the habitable zone that could possibly support liquid water on its surface if it is a rocky planet.

We quantify the effects of refraction in transit transmission spectroscopy on spectral absorption features and on temporal variations that could be used to obtain altitude-dependent spectra for planets orbiting stars of different stellar types.

We report near-infrared spectroscopy of the gas giant planet HD 189733b in transit. We used the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 (HST WFC3) with its G141 grism covering 1.1 um to 1.7 um and spatially scanned the image across the detector at 2\arcsecs−1.

As anybody who has started a campfire by rubbing sticks knows, friction generates heat. Now, computer modeling by NASA scientists shows that friction could be the key to survival for some distant Earth-sized planets traveling in dangerous orbits.

High resolution imaging is an important tool for follow-up study of exoplanet candidates found via transit detection with the Kepler Mission. We discuss here HST imaging with the WFC3 of 23 stars that host particularly interesting Kepler planet candidates based on their small size and cool equilibrium temperature estimates.

Kepler-78b is a transiting Earth-mass planet in an 8.5 hr orbit discovered by the Kepler Space Mission. We performed an analysis of the published radial velocity measurements for Kepler-78 in order to derive a refined measurement for the planet mass.

A newly discovered planet in a binary star system located 3,000 light-years from Earth is expanding astronomers' notions of where Earth-like--and even potentially habitable--planets can form, and how to find them.

Mysteries about controversial signals coming from a dwarf star considered to be a prime target in the search for extraterrestrial life now have been solved in research led by scientists at Penn State University.