Posts by apai


From the DistantEarths blog of Daniel Apai After two hours of hike up on a rocky trail in the Italian Alps, finally I stand at an elevation just above 2,500 meters, staring at a breathtaking and unique mountain range, the Dolomites, that holds an exciting clue to the habitability of our planet. With gigantic sharp white-gray peaks emerging from the lush green of Alpine meadows, these mountains rise where the African continental plate...

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The Future of Exoplanet Research


Posted By on Jun 16, 2016

By Daniel Apai Includes interview with Nick Siegler and Shawn Domagal-Goldman Over the weekend, at the Hilton on the San Diego Bay, a small group met to speak about the present and future of NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration program. To someone not in the field of exoplanets the talks and debates may have resembled science fiction: giant space telescopes, rockets and spacewalks, hyper-precise measurements of stellar motion, search...

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Exoplanets around Red Dwarf Stars


Posted By on Feb 12, 2016

Exoplanets around Red Dwarf Stars by Gijs Mulders   Since the discovery in 1995 of the first exoplanet over two-thousand exoplanets have been discovered. Most exoplanets, such as those discovered by the Kepler spacecraft, orbit stars similar in mass to the sun. Directly imaged planets, such as those discussed by Kevin Wagner in a previous blog post, are mainly discovered around stars more massive than the sun (A or F stars)....

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By Kevin Wagner Searching for planets outside of our own solar system is one of the great challenges in modern astronomy. The problem consists of measuring the brightness of a planet that is more than a million times fainter than its host star, while being so close to the star that even to the world’s largest telescopes the two appear as one due to the blurring of the Earth’s atmosphere – akin to trying to detect a firefly next to a...

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We, Min Fang and Ben Rackham, are on a five-night observing run at the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT), where we are collecting spectra of young stars. This post gives some of the highlights of our trip so far. The VATT is located in southeastern Arizona at the Mount Graham International Observatory (MGIO) near Mount Graham, the highest peak of the Pinaleño Mountains. The Pinaleños are one of the largest of the “Sky...

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