Biosignatures & Paleobiology

How Can We Find Tiny Particles In Exoplanet Atmospheres?

How Can We Find Tiny Particles In Exoplanet Atmospheres?

It may seem like magic, but astronomers have worked out a scheme that will allow them to detect and measure particles ten times smaller than the width of a human hair, even at many light-years distance.

Astrochemistry

Methane, Carbon Monoxide, and Ammonia in Brown Dwarfs and Self-Luminous Giant Planets

Methane, Carbon Monoxide, and Ammonia in Brown Dwarfs and Self-Luminous Giant Planets

We address disequilibrum abundances of some simple molecules in the atmospheres of solar composition brown dwarfs and self-luminous extrasolar giant planets using a kinetics-based 1D atmospheric chemistry model.

Titan

ALMA Measurements of the HNC and HC3N Distributions in Titan's atmosphere

ALMA Measurements of the HNC and HC3N Distributions in Titan's atmosphere

We present spectrally and spatially-resolved maps of HNC and HC3N emission from Titan's atmosphere, obtained with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) on 2013 November 17.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Formation, Habitability, and Detection of Extrasolar Moons

Formation, Habitability, and Detection of Extrasolar Moons

The diversity and quantity of moons in the Solar System suggest a manifold population of natural satellites exist around extrasolar planets.

Astrochemistry

Small Carbon Chains in Circumstellar Envelopes

Small Carbon Chains in Circumstellar Envelopes

Observations were made for a number of carbon-rich circumstellar envelopes using the Phoenix spectrograph on the Gemini South telescope to determine the abundance of small carbon chain molecules.

Astrochemistry

Molecules with a peptide link in protostellar shocks: a comprehensive study of L1157

Molecules with a peptide link in protostellar shocks: a comprehensive study of L1157

Interstellar molecules with a peptide link -NH-C(=O)-, like formamide (NH2 CHO), acetamide (NH2 COCH3) and isocyanic acid (HNCO) are particularly interesting for their potential role in pre-biotic chemistry.

Astronomy

Indications of Water Clouds in the Coldest Known Brown Dwarf

Indications of Water Clouds in the Coldest Known Brown Dwarf

We present a deep near-infrared image of the newly discovered brown dwarf WISE J085510.83-071442.5 (W0855) using the FourStar imager at Las Campanas Observatory.

Extrasolar Planets

Surface Flux Patterns on Planets in Circumbinary Systems, and Potential for Photosynthesis

Surface Flux Patterns on Planets in Circumbinary Systems, and Potential for Photosynthesis

Recently, the Kepler Space Telescope has detected several planets in orbit around a close binary star system.

Extremeophiles and Extreme Environments

Viable Microbial Ecosystem Confirmed 800 Meters Beneath Antarctic Ice

Viable Microbial Ecosystem Confirmed 800 Meters Beneath Antarctic Ice

Researchers this week published a paper confirming that the waters and sediments of a lake that lies 800 meters (2,600 feet) beneath the surface of the West Antarctic ice sheet support "viable microbial ecosystems."

Geobiology

Microbes Can Create Dripstones

Microbes Can Create Dripstones

According to new research humble, microscopic organisms can create dripstones in caves. This illustrates how biological life can influence the formation of Earth's geology - and the same may be happening right now on other planets in space.

Fossils

New Home for an Evolutionary Misfit

New Home for an Evolutionary Misfit

One of the most bizarre-looking fossils ever found - a worm-like creature with legs, spikes and a head difficult to distinguish from its tail - has found its place in the evolutionary Tree of Life, definitively linking it with a group of modern animals for the first time.

More top stories from September.