Extrasolar Planets

Detection of the Atmosphere of the 1.6 Earth Mass Exoplanet GJ 1132b

Detection of the Atmosphere of the 1.6 Earth Mass Exoplanet GJ 1132b

Detecting the atmospheres of low-mass low-temperature exoplanets is a high-priority goal on the path to ultimately detect biosignatures in the atmospheres of habitable exoplanets.

Astrochemistry

Search for Interstellar Monohydric Thiols

Search for Interstellar Monohydric Thiols

It has been pointed out by various astronomers that very interesting relationship exists between interstellar alcohols and the corresponding thiols (sulfur analogue of alcohols) as far as the spectroscopic properties and chemical abundances are concerned.

Astrochemistry

Cloud Formation in Carbon- and Oxygen-rich Environment

Cloud Formation in Carbon- and Oxygen-rich Environment

Recent observations indicate potentially carbon-rich exoplanet atmospheres. Spectral fitting methods for brown dwarfs and exoplanets have invoked the C/O ratio as additional parameter but carbon-rich cloud formation modeling is a challenge for the models applied.

Astrochemistry

Carbon Abundances in Stars With and Without Planets Using The CH Band

Carbon Abundances in Stars With and Without Planets Using The CH Band

Context. Carbon, oxygen and nitrogen (CNO) are key elements in stellar formation and evolution, and their abundances should also have a significant impact on planetary formation and evolution.

Pluto

Could There Be Life In Pluto's Ocean?

Could There Be Life In Pluto's Ocean?

Pluto is thought to possess a subsurface ocean, which is not so much a sign of water as it is a tremendous clue that other dwarf planets in deep space also may contain similarly exotic oceans, naturally leading to the question of life, said one co-investigator with NASA's New Horizon mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.

Europa

From Monterey Bay to Europa

From Monterey Bay to Europa

If you think operating a robot in space is hard, try doing it in the ocean. Saltwater can corrode your robot and block its radio signals. Kelp forests can tangle it up, and you might not get it back. Sharks will even try to take bites out of its wings.

Proxima Centauri b

Upper limits for Mass and Radius of objects around Proxima Cen from SPHERE/VLT

Upper limits for Mass and Radius of objects around Proxima Cen from SPHERE/VLT

The recent discovery of an earth-like planet around Proxima Centauri has drawn much attention to this star and its environment.

Fossils

Ancient Rocks Hold Evidence Of Life Before Oxygen

Ancient Rocks Hold Evidence Of Life Before Oxygen

Somewhere between Earth's creation and where we are today, scientists have demonstrated that some early life forms existed just fine without any oxygen.

Extrasolar Planets

Timing the Shadow of a Potentially Habitable Extrasolar Planet

Timing the Shadow of a Potentially Habitable Extrasolar Planet

A group of researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), the University of Tokyo, and the Astrobiology Center among others has observed the transit of a potentially Earth-like extrasolar planet known as K2-3d using the MuSCAT instrument on the Okayama Astrophysical Observatory 188-cm telescope.

Extrasolar Planets

Atmospheric Habitable Zones in Y Dwarf Atmospheres

Atmospheric Habitable Zones in Y Dwarf Atmospheres

We use a simple organism lifecycle model to explore the viability of an atmospheric habitable zone (AHZ), with temperatures that could support Earth-centric life, which sits above an environment that does not support life.

Genomics and Cell Biology

Earth Life Can Be Designed To Make Silicon-Carbon Bonds

Earth Life Can Be Designed To Make Silicon-Carbon Bonds Video in Story

A new study is the first to show that living organisms can be persuaded to make silicon-carbon bonds--something only chemists had done before. Scientists at Caltech "bred" a bacterial protein to have the ability to make the man-made bonds, a finding that has applications in several industries.

More top stories from December.