Habitable Zones & Global Climate: September 2014

Identifying the source of Earth's water is central to understanding the origins of life-fostering environments and to assessing the prevalence of such environments in space.

A pioneering new study has shown that water found on Earth predates the formation of the Sun -- raising hopes that life could exist on exoplanets, the planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy.

Astronomers using data from three of NASA's space telescopes -- Hubble, Spitzer and Kepler -- have discovered clear skies and steamy water vapor on a gaseous planet outside our solar system.

The detection and atmospheric characterization of super-Earths is one of the major frontiers of exoplanetary science. Currently, extensive efforts are underway to detect molecules, particularly H2O, in super-Earth atmospheres.

Spectroscopic observations of exoplanets are crucial to infer the composition and properties of their atmospheres. HD 189733b is one of the most extensively studied exoplanets and is a corner stone for hot Jupiter models.

A team of scientists led by Carnegie's Jacqueline Faherty has discovered the first evidence of water ice clouds on an object outside of our own Solar System.

Several circumbinary planets have recently been discovered. The orbit of a planet around a binary stellar system poses several dynamic constraints.

The principle definition of habitability for exoplanets is whether they can sustain liquid water on their surfaces, i.e. that they orbit within the habitable zone.

A reasonable basis for future astronomical investigations of exoplanets lies in our best knowledge of the planets and satellites in the Solar System.

Detection and characterization of potentially habitable Earth-size extrasolar planets is one of the major goals of contemporary astronomy.