With the discovery of hundreds of exoplanets and a potentially huge number of Earth-like planets waiting to be discovered, the conditions for their habitability have become a focal point in exoplanetary research.
Researchers at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Finger Silicon-Capped Hydrocarbons as Possible Source of Mysterious "Diffuse Interstellar Bands"
In this paper, we investigate the conditions required for the 3 and 17 Earth mass solid planets in the Kepler-10 system to have formed through collisions and mergers within an initial population of embryos.
Observations of debris disks allow for the study of planetary systems, even where planets have not been detected.
This work is part of an ongoing project which aims to detect terrestrial planets in our neighbouring star system α Centauri using the Doppler method.
A team of astronomers has made the most precise measurements yet of water vapour in the atmospheres of Jupiter-like planets beyond our Solar System and found them to be much drier worlds than expected.
Genomics and Cell Biology
Parts of the primordial soup in which life arose have been maintained in our cells today according to scientists at the University of East Anglia.
The recent discoveries of terrestrial exoplanets and super Earths extending over a broad range of orbital and physical parameters suggests that these planets will span a wide range of climatic regimes.
The core accretion theory for giant planet formation predicts enrichment of elemental abundances in planetary envelopes caused by runaway accretion of planetesimals, which is consistent with measured super-solar abundances of C, N, P, S, Xe, and Ar in Jupiter's atmosphere.
Biosignatures & Paleobiology
Humanity is on the threshold of being able to detect signs of alien life on other worlds. By studying exoplanet atmospheres, we can look for gases like oxygen and methane that only coexist if replenished by life.
One of the primary goals of exoplanet science is to find and characterize habitable planets, and direct imaging will play a key role in this effort.
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