Extrasolar Planets

Characterizing Exoplanets for Habitability

Characterizing Exoplanets for Habitability

A habitable exoplanet is a world that can maintain stable liquid water on its surface. Techniques and approaches to characterizing such worlds are essential, as performing a census of Earth-like planets that may or may not have life will inform our understanding of how frequently life originates and is sustained on worlds other than our own.

Origin & Evolution of Life

Did Life Start More Than Once on Earth?

Did Life Start More Than Once on Earth?

Conditions suitable to support complex life may have developed in Earth's oceans -- and then faded -- more than a billion years before life truly took hold, a new University of Washington-led study has found.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Characterization of the Wolf 1061 Planetary System

Characterization of the Wolf 1061 Planetary System

A critical component of exoplanetary studies is an exhaustive characterization of the host star, from which the planetary properties are frequently derived. Of particular value are the radius, temperature, and luminosity, which are key stellar parameters for studies of transit and habitability science.

Astrochemistry

Rotational Spectroscopy, Tentative Interstellar Detection, and Chemical Modelling of N-methylformamide

Rotational Spectroscopy, Tentative Interstellar Detection, and Chemical Modelling of N-methylformamide

N-methylformamide, CH3NHCHO, may be an important molecule for interstellar pre-biotic chemistry because it contains a peptide bond.

SETI

SETIBURST: A Robotic, Commensal, Realtime Multi-Science Backend for the Arecibo Telescope

SETIBURST: A Robotic, Commensal, Realtime Multi-Science Backend for the Arecibo Telescope

Radio astronomy has traditionally depended on observatories allocating time to observers for exclusive use of their telescopes. The disadvantage of this scheme is that the data thus collected is rarely used for other astronomy applications, and in many cases, is unsuitable.

Impact events

How Darkness and Cold Killed the Dinosaurs

How Darkness and Cold Killed the Dinosaurs

66 million years ago, the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs started the ascent of the mammals, ultimately resulting in humankind's reign on Earth.

Proxima Centauri b

On The Eccentricity of Proxima b

On The Eccentricity of Proxima b

We apply Monte Carlo projection to the radial velocity data set that Anglada Escude et al. (2016) use for the discovery of Proxima b. They find an upper limit to the orbital eccentricity of 0.35.

Astrochemistry

First Detection of Methyl Isocyanate (CH3NCO) in a Solar-type Protostar

First Detection of Methyl Isocyanate (CH3NCO) in a Solar-type Protostar

We report the first detection of the prebiotic complex organic molecule CH3NCO in a solar-type protostar, IRAS16293-2422 B. This species is one of the most abundant complex organic molecule detected on the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and in the insterstellar medium it has only been found in hot cores around high-mass protostars.

Origin & Evolution of Life

How Complex Cellular Life May Have Emerged

How Complex Cellular Life May Have Emerged

In a new study, published in Nature this week, an international research group led from Uppsala University in Sweden presents the discovery of a group of microbes that provide new insights as to how complex cellular life emerged.

Alpha Centauri

ESO Signs Agreement with Breakthrough Initiatives: VLT to Search for Planets in Alpha Centauri System

ESO Signs Agreement with Breakthrough Initiatives: VLT to Search for Planets in Alpha Centauri System Video in Story

ESO has signed an agreement with the Breakthrough Initiatives to adapt the Very Large Telescope instrumentation in Chile to conduct a search for planets in the nearby star system Alpha Centauri.

Mars

Atmospheric Constraints on the Surface UV Environment of Mars at 3.9 Ga Relevant to Prebiotic Chemistry

Atmospheric Constraints on the Surface UV Environment of Mars at 3.9 Ga Relevant to Prebiotic Chemistry

Recent findings suggest Mars may have been a clement environment for the emergence of life, and may even have compared favorably to Earth in this regard.

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