Extrasolar Planets: April 2015

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.

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.

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

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.

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 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.

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.

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

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 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.