Extrasolar Planets: December 2020

Characterizing habitable exoplanets and/or their moons is of paramount importance. Here we show the results of our magnetic field topological modeling which demonstrate that terrestrial exoplanet-exomoon coupled magnetospheres work together to protect the early atmospheres of both the exoplanet and the exomoon.

Over the past several decades, thousands of planets have been discovered outside of our Solar System. These planets exhibit enormous diversity, and their large numbers provide a statistical opportunity to place our Solar System within the broader context of planetary structure, atmospheres, architectures, formation, and evolution.

We report on the status of the Tierras Observatory, a refurbished 1.3-m ultra-precise fully-automated photometer located at the F. L. Whipple Observatory atop Mt. Hopkins, Arizona.

The magma ocean concept was first conceived to explain the geology of the Moon, but hemispherical or global oceans of silicate melt could be a widespread "lava world" phase of rocky planet accretion, and could persist on planets on short-period orbits around other stars.

Finding potential life harboring exo-Earths is one of the aims of exoplanetary science. Detecting signatures of life in exoplanets will likely first be accomplished by determining the bulk composition of the planetary atmosphere via reflected/transmitted spectroscopy.

There is a well-known gap in the sizes of small planets, between super-Earths and mini-Neptunes. This is explained by the envelope stripping of mini-Neptunes at short orbits.

The terrestrial planets are believed to have formed by violent collisions of tens of lunar- to Mars-size protoplanets at time t<200 Myr after the protoplanetary gas disk dispersal (t_0).