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Posts Tagged "exoplanetary science"

Life, Unbounded

So You Want To Be An Exozookeeper?

Kepler's tally of exoplanets (Credit: NASA Ames/SETI/J Rowe)

                  This week has seen the release of the latest set of ‘confirmed’ exoplanets from NASA’s Kepler mission. In total, 715 worlds have been added to the list of what are thought to be genuine Kepler planet detections (previously standing at 246). If you’re confused because you’ve [...]

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Life, Unbounded

First Reconnaissance Of An Exoplanetary System

HR 8799

Using cutting edge techniques, a team of astronomers has directly imaged a distant system of four planets, and made history by obtaining simultaneous spectra of these worlds. This first comparative look reveals that the objects each have distinct atmospheric compositions, none of which directly match any previously known class of astrophysical body.     Only [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Dance of the Exoplanets

Fomalhaut and Fomalhaut b (inset) Hubble imagery (Credit:  NASA, ESA, and P. Kalas (University of California, Berkeley and SETI Institute))

It’s been an exciting few days for exoplanetary science. A slew of refined statistical measurements of the abundance of other worlds have made it clearer than ever that our galaxy is crammed with planets. One in six stars should host at least one Earth-sized object in an orbit smaller than that of Mercury, implying that [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Should We Expect Other Earth-like Planets At All?

exoplanets-many-habitable-worlds

This year has been a spectacular one for exoplanets. New discoveries and new insights have truly pushed the gateway to other worlds even further open.     In the past 12 months we’ve gained increasingly good statistics on the incredible abundance of planets around other stars and their multiplicity. We also finally seem to have [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Exo-cornucopia

Watch out! There's a lot of stuff up there...

  This has been an extraordinary week for planets (moons), exoplanets, and astrobiology. I’m hard pushed to write properly about all these things but sometimes the sheer tidal mass of discoveries tells its own story.       And tidal masses is the first one up. This week new results from the Cassini mission around [...]

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Life, Unbounded

A Star With Nine Planets, Maybe More?

Planet, planet, planet.... (Image credit: ESA)

Exactly how many planets orbit any given star is still a major unknown in exoplanetary science. The two primary techniques for detecting planets and quantifying their characteristics have significant limitations that blinker us to the full contents of other solar systems. Radial velocity measurements pick up the tell-tale motion of a star around a system’s [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Too Bright for JWST: Some Exoplanets are Overwhelming

The planet Upsilon Andromedae b in close orbit to its parent star (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Understanding the structure, dynamics, and chemistry of planetary atmospheres is key to exoplanetary science. It’s sobering to realize that as of now it is still an enormous challenge to model even the atmospheres of planets in our own solar system. Despite great advances, a variety of trickery has to be employed to simulate a swirling [...]

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