Extrasolar Planets

Sub-Neptune Sized Planet Validated With The Habitable-zone Planet Finder

Sub-Neptune Sized Planet Validated With The Habitable-zone Planet Finder

A signal originally detected by the Kepler spacecraft has been validated as an exoplanet using the Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF), an astronomical spectrograph built by a Penn State team and recently installed on the 10m Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory in Texas.

Genomics and Cell Biology

Random Gene Pulsing Generates Patterns Of Life

Random Gene Pulsing Generates Patterns Of Life

A team of Cambridge scientists working on the intersection between biology and computation has found that random gene activity helps patterns form during development of a model multicellular system.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Solar-cycle Irradiance Variations Over The Last Four Billion years

Solar-cycle Irradiance Variations Over The Last Four Billion years

The variability of the spectral solar irradiance (SSI) over the course of the 11-year solar cycle is one of the manifestations of solar magnetic activity. There is a strong evidence that the SSI variability has an effect on the Earth's atmosphere.

Meteorites, Asteroids, & Comets

Potassium Isotopic Compositions Of Enstatite Meteorites

Potassium Isotopic Compositions Of Enstatite Meteorites

Enstatite chondrites and aubrites are meteorites that show the closest similarities to the Earth in many isotope systems that undergo mass-independent and mass-dependent isotope fractionations.

Extrasolar Planets

Stabilization of Dayside Surface Liquid Water Via Tropopause Cold Trapping On Arid Slowly Rotating Tidally Locked Planets

Stabilization of Dayside Surface Liquid Water Via Tropopause Cold Trapping On Arid Slowly Rotating Tidally Locked Planets

Terrestrial-type exoplanets orbiting nearby red dwarf stars (M-dwarfs) are among the best targets for atmospheric characterization and biosignature searches in the near future.

SETI

Looking For Aliens Who Might Be Looking For Us

Looking For Aliens Who Might Be Looking For Us

Data from a massive search for cosmic radio emission released Feb 14. by the Breakthrough Listen Initiative--the most comprehensive survey yet of radio emissions from the Milky Way--has allowed astronomers to look for technological signatures of extraterrestrial civilizations that might be looking for us.

Extrasolar Planets

Dynamics of Planetary Systems Within Star Clusters: Aspects of the Solar System's Early Evolution

Dynamics of Planetary Systems Within Star Clusters: Aspects of the Solar System's Early Evolution

Most planetary systems -- including our own -- are born within stellar clusters, where interactions with neighboring stars can help shape the system architecture.

Astrochemistry

A Method For Mapping The Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Content Of Interstellar Dust Towards The Galactic Centre

A Method For Mapping The Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Content Of Interstellar Dust Towards The Galactic Centre

In the interstellar medium, the cosmic elemental carbon abundance includes the total carbon in both gas and solid phases.

Microbiology

Bacteria On The International Space Station Are No More Dangerous Than Earthbound Strains

Bacteria On The International Space Station Are No More Dangerous Than Earthbound Strains

Two particularly tenacious species of bacteria have colonized the potable water dispenser aboard the International Space Station (ISS), but a new study suggests that they are no more dangerous than closely related strains on Earth.

Origin & Evolution of Life

Rules Of Life: From A Pond To The Beyond

Rules Of Life: From A Pond To The Beyond

The Cuatro Cienegas Basin, located in Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico, was once a shallow sea that became isolated from the Gulf of Mexico around 43 million years ago.

Climate

Earth Climate Models And The Search For Life On Other Planets

Earth Climate Models And The Search For Life On Other Planets

In a generic brick building on the northwestern edge of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center campus in Greenbelt, Maryland, thousands of computers packed in racks the size of vending machines hum in a deafening chorus of data crunching.

More top stories from February.