Lauren Weiss

Lauren Weiss has written 22 posts for astrobites

Now *you* can name a planet!

The International Astronomical Union wants you to name a planet! While you ponder what to submit as a planet name, read on to learn the history and politics that led to this exciting opportunity.

Determining the (minimum) heights of atmospheres on exoplanets

One of the major questions among astronomers who study planets around other stars is, “What kinds of atmospheres do exoplanets have?” This question is extremely challenging to answer empirically: not only are most exoplanets too faint and close to their stars for us to see directly (see this post for an exception), but their atmospheres (especially on small, potentially rocky planets) are only a tiny fraction of the planet’s total composition.

Kepler Reaction Wheel Failure Cripples Spacecraft, but Mission Thrives

Although the reaction wheel failure incapacitates the telescope, we are still finding new Earth-sized planets in the plethora of existing data.

Touring SOFIA

What is it like inside the airplane observatory?

How Hot Jupiters are (Not) Made

Title: A Paucity of Proto-Hot Jupiters on Super-Eccentric Orbits Authors: Rebekah I. Dawson, Ruth A. Murray-Clay, John Asher Johnson First Author’s Institution: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Note:┬áThis post is based in part on a talk by Rebekah Dawson at the UC Berkeley Planet and Star Formation Seminar on Nov. 7, 2012. Introduction How do planets […]

Convection in the Sun is Slower than We Thought

In the sun, subsurface flows are 20-100 times slower than what is predicted in widely used theoretical models.

Feet on the Ground, but Reaching for the Stars?

How do we decide whether to do safe research that is sure to make a small contribution to science or to pursue risky projects that could make a big difference?

Two types of type Ia supernova?

What if type Ia supernova are not all made the same way? For the first time, a study links type Ia supernova explosions to their parent systems, uncovering evidence for two different ways to produce these purportedly “standard” explosions.

NASA Senior Review Favors Kepler

Kepler mission extended to 2016.

Kepler’s Habitable Worlds

Of Kepler’s 2,321 planet candidates, many are in the “habitable zone.”

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