Category Archives: Exoplanets

Super-Earth(s)?

The idea of discovering new “Earth-like” planets has always intrigue me! I mean, they could be habitable planets that we can ACTUALLY live in? Just like in Terra Nova (I’ll explain more about that series in the end of this post!). Super-Earth, in short, means exoplanets in which their masses are higher than Earth’s, extra … Continue reading Super-Earth(s)?Continue reading Continue reading

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Life: A Love Story

Sitting in my late-night astronomy lab last night, we watched a computer simulation (based completely on real, observed data) take us out as far into the universe as our understanding has gone. Starting in the Himalayas, Tibet, then Planet Earth, and rapidly, sooner than I thought possible, we were so far out of my realm … More Life: A Love StoryContinue reading Continue reading

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Blog #3: PSR J1719-1438 b

PSR J1719-1438 b is a really cool planet. It’s small and massive, and oh yeah, it’s made of diamonds.   PSR J1719-1438 b orbits around star PSR J1719-1438, which is a neutron star and a pulsar. Basically, because the star’s magnetic field is so great, it sends off waves of radiation. The relationship between the star … Continue reading Blog #3: PSR J1719-1438 bContinue reading Continue reading

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Blog #2: HAT-P-2’s Heart

A very appropriate post for Valentine’s Day. NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered a unique quality of a star and its orbiting planet that are some 370 light years away. The gravitational interaction between the two cause some vibrations in HAT-P-2 when its orbiting planet HAT-P-2b gets close. HAT-P-2b is a planet with a mass … Continue reading Blog #2: HAT-P-2’s HeartContinue reading Continue reading

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Transiting Extrasolar Planets

A method for detecting planets beyond our solar system.Continue reading Continue reading

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Color in the Universe

The pale blue dot is Earth, but what if Earth is the only planet that gives off that specific color? While other exoplanets can and have mimicked the pale blue color, a broader portion of Earth’s overall spectrum shows a rather subtle signature that can only be attributed to life. Earth’s blue color comes from the… Continue reading Continue reading

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Living the fast life: Kepler-70b

The Kepler spacecraft (which was feared lost earlier this week) has discovered a veritable treasure trove of exoplanets over its seven year mission. Some of these planets may even be habitable. Kepler-70b is decidedly not one of them. Kepler-70b is the closer of two terrestrial planets to KOI-55, a subdwarf star which was once a red giant. […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Detection of Habitable Planets

We talked much in class about different methods of discovering extrasolar planets, and Dr. G pointed out to us that the only reason people bother looking for extrasolar planets is to try and find life outside of our solar system.  To do this, scientists have to narrow down the list of extrasolar planets into a […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Hot Jupiters and Why They Don’t Wreck our Model of Planetary Formation

Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, is located exactly where astrophysicists and planetary-formation theorists believe that it should be. Its size indicates that it should be located around the middle of the Solar System, where it was able to pick up rock, ice, and a lot of gases (such as hydrogen and helium) […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Doppler vs. Astrometric: Find the Planet

Currently, it’s quite difficult to discover new planets simply by direct observation. This is because the high interference of light caused by the planets’ respective stars makes it almost impossible to detect the light reflected off of planets. However, there are two indirect planet detection methods: Doppler and astrometric. The astrometric method relies on measuring […] Continue reading Continue reading

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