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Erika Nesvold

Erika Nesvold has written 25 posts for astrobites

Today’s Partial Solar Eclipse

North Americans will enjoy a partial solar eclipse this afternoon. Read more to find out the best ways to view the eclipse!

A Deeper Look into the Atmospheres of HR8799 c and d with GPI

The authors break in the new Gemini Planet Imager with spectroscopy of the well-studied but not yet well-explained exoplanets HR 8799 c and d.

How to destroy a debris disk

Planet-planet scattering can either be a good thing or a bad thing for the planetesimals caught in the crossfire. Like many things in life, the key is moderation. The authors of this paper try to figure out how many exoplanet systems with eccentric planets are likely to still have their debris disks after experiencing a planet-planet scattering event.

Crater Simulation

Iapetus: Growing Up in a Rough Neighborhood

Saturn’s moon Iapetus has been bombarded pretty heavily by debris from the outer Solar System. But it’s not TOO smashed up — its strange, 20-km-high, equatorial ridge is still standing. The authors of this paper simulate the bombardment of Iapetus to figure out how much mass could have collided with the moon without destroying the ridge.

Kepler-10c: A Huge Rocky Exoplanet

According to planet formation theory, gas giants are more massive than rocky, terrestrial planets. But Kepler-10c is the size of Neptune, and denser than the Earth! Read on to find out more about the discovery of a new class of planets.

An Exoplanet’s Fast Spin

Planets in the Solar System with a higher mass spin faster than lower-mass planets. But what about planets in other systems? The authors of this paper make the first measurement of an exoplanet’s spin to compare its spin and mass to Solar System planets.

Mugged by a Passing Star

A close encounter with another star can disrupt the protoplanetary disk of a young star, leaving a smaller disk behind. Can we learn anything about the encounter from the size of the remaining disk? Read on to find out!

AGN Illustration

A New Galactic Yardstick

We can measure the expansion of the universe with velocities and distances of extragalactic objects. But measuring distances is tough! The authors of this paper have developed a new technique for measure the distances of AGN using the “echo” of light from heated dust.

Stellar Flybys and Damping Disks: How to Excite an Exoplanet

Close encounters with a passing star can excite a planet into an eccentric or inclined orbit. But a circumstellar disk can damp a planet’s eccentricity and inclination. Who wins? Find out when the authors of this paper model a stellar flyby with two circumstellar disks!

Disk Detective: The Newest Astronomy Citizen Science Project

Finding circumstellar disks in the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer data is a tough job, but fortunately our brains are even better suited to the task than computers! You can help by lending your pattern-recognition skills to Disk Detective, the Zooniverse’s newest citizen science project.

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