Extrasolar Planets: April 2016

Solar photospheric abundances of refractory elements mirror the Earth's to within ~10 mol% when normalized to the dominant terrestrial planet-forming elements Mg, Si and Fe. This allows for the adoption of Solar composition as an order-of-magnitude proxy for Earth's.

We humans might not be the only ones to ponder our place in the universe. If intelligent aliens do roam the cosmos, they too might ask a question that has gripped humans for centuries: Are we alone?

We report the discovery of three new substellar companions to solar-type stars, HD191806, HD214823, and HD221585, based on radial velocity measurements obtained at the Haute-Provence Observatory.

The young star beta Pictoris is well known for its dusty debris disk, produced through the grinding down by collisions of planetesimals, kilometre-sized bodies in orbit around the star.

Contrary to Earth, which has a small orbital eccentricity, some exoplanets discovered in the insolation habitable zone (HZ) have high orbital eccentricities (e.g., up to an eccentricity of ∼0.97 for HD~20782~b).

Characterizing the atmospheres of extrasolar planets is the new frontier in exoplanetary science. The last two decades of exoplanet discoveries have revealed that exoplanets are very common and extremely diverse in their orbital and bulk properties.

As planets are being discovered around other stars by the thousands, several scientific disciplines that traditionally exist in parallel are converging, including astronomy, planetary science, and biochemistry.

We use the existence of habitable planets to impose anthropic requirements on the fine structure constant, α. To this effect, we present two considerations that restrict its value to be very near the one observed.

Stellar activity and rotation frustrate the detection of exoplanets through the radial velocity technique. This effect is particularly of concern for M dwarfs, which can remain magnetically active for billions of years.

We evaluate the extent of the regions within the α Centauri AB star system where small planets are able to orbit for billion-year timescales, and we calculate the positions on the sky plane where planets on stable orbits about either stellar component may appear.

Stability of planetary orbits around GJ 832 star system, which contains inner (GJ 832c) and outer (GJ 832b) planets, is investigated numerically and the detailed phase-space analysis are performed.

The direct detection of reflected light from exoplanets is an excellent probe for the characterization of their atmospheres.

The salt levels of oceans on distant Earth-like planets could have a major effect on their climates - according to new research from the Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of East Anglia.

There is currently no evidence for life on any known exoplanet. Here, we propose a form of "galactic anthropology" to detect not only the existence of life on transiting exoplanets, but also the existence of environmentalism movements.