Posts made in August, 2016


There are many ways astronomers have developed to detect exoplanets. Mikayla Mace introduced the most popular methods—radial velocity, transit, and direct imaging—in an earlier post on this blog. Each of these has their own strengths, making them useful for detecting exoplanets with different orbital parameters. In some cases, one detection method can used to verify an exoplanet detected via another method and strengthen our...

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I sat down on my third flight of the day, and the last that I would be taking to the big island of Hawaii on my way to the Mauna Kea observatories. The passenger with the seat adjacent to mine followed and sat down. My step-mom was a flight attendant, so flying is strictly routine to me by now. I typically slouch into my headphones when I sit down, not to arise until the plane is back on the ground. However, I usually spend at least a...

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The current estimate for the number of stars with Earth-sized planets orbiting in the habitable zone is about one in four, according to Dr. Daniel Apai Principal Investigator for Project EOS. Other researchers estimates range from as few as 5 percent to more than 100 percent, which means that more than one exist per star. Despite even the most optimistic statistics, the only life found in the universe is that which is found on Earth....

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A closer look at dust particles Young planet-forming disks contain trillions of tiny microscopic dust particles. Even in the tenuous protoplanetary disk, these particles bump into each other every now and then, sticking together and growing larger and larger with every collision, eventually forming the building blocks of planets. Historically, dust grains have been treated as being spherical and compact, but in recent years the...

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Methods for Hunting Exoplanets


Posted By on Aug 3, 2016

“Usually the first thing you find in astronomy are the freaks,” said Dr. Travis Barman, Project EOS co-investigator and associate professor at the University of Arizona. “And the freaks tell you about the exceptions not the rule.” Exoplanets are illusive objects. They are difficult to detect using even the most powerful telescopes because they are dim and cool relative to objects such as galaxies and stars, according to Dr. Daniel...

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