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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Title: Superhabitable Worlds Authors: René Heller and John Armstrong First Author’s Institution: McMaster University Status: Published in Astrobiology Note: This journal article covers two topics that we thought each deserved its own astrobite. Yesterday’s astrobite discussed the first half of the paper, about the effects of tidal heating on habitability. Today’s astrobite explores the concept […]