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Sukrit Ranjan

Sukrit Ranjan has written 25 posts for astrobites

It’s the End of the World as We Know It: Biosignatures from the Dying Earth

This paper asks what the biosphere of the Earth will look like billions of years from now, when the era of life is ending. What biosignatures might we detect from a dying planet?

Reassuring Chicken Little: Why Satellites Are Not Falling Out of The Sky

This paper seeks to provide a theoretical explanation for why gravitational perturbations do not disrupt the Keplerian orbits of Earth’s satellites.

New Insight Into A Potentially Evaporating Planet

There is a small planet candidate, likely rocky, that looks like it’s being vaporized. The authors of this paper show evidence that this evaporation might be related to stellar activity, not just the planet’s proximity to its star.

The Influence of Ice and Snow on Habitability (or, On the Habitability of Hoth)

This article uses theoretical modeling to estimate the influence of ice and snow on the habitability of extrasolar planets. This work differentiates itself from past efforts by including the influence of the atmosphere, and by considering planets orbiting M-dwarfs in addition to Sun-like stars.

Studying Space Water: Measurements of the D/H Ratio in Comet 45P

This paper describes the measurement of the deuterium-to-hydrogen (D/H) ratio in a Jupiter-family comet, 45P. This ratio is related to the formation history of the comet and helps inform our understanding of the formation of our solar system.

Finding Serenity: Three Habitable Planets around GJ667C?

This paper reports that the M-dwarf star GJ667C is orbited by a system of six, maybe seven super-Earths, of which three are in the habitable zone. This is an extraordinarily closely packed system of planets, straight from science fiction!

Voyages through the Final Frontier: The Case of HD97658b.

This paper describes the detection of transits for a planet previously identified via radial velocities (RVs). Measuring the properties of the planet with both the transit and RV method allows the authors to determine the density, which suggests it should have a lot of volatiles (e.g. H2O, CO2, etc). This discovery is particularly exciting because the planet orbits a bright, nearby star: ideal for follow-up observations to characterize its atmosphere!

A Century of Staring at the Sky: Constraints on Star-Planet Interactions from the DASCH project

Caption: H. A. Sawyer loading plates into the Harvard 16” Metcalf Doublet telescope. Picture from http://hea-www.harvard.edu/DASCH/telescopes.php Paper Title: 100-year DASCH Light Curves of Kepler Planet-Candidate Host Stars Authors: S. Tang et al First Author’s Affiliation: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA; Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, Santa Barbara, CA; California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA […]

Asteroid Archaeology: Reconstructing the Disintegration of Asteroid P/2010 A2

Paper Title: Dynamics of Large Fragments in the Tail of Active Asteroid P/2010 A2 Authors: Jessica Agarwal, David Jewitt, and Harold Weaver First Author’s Affiliation: Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Germany Journal: The Astrophysical Journal (Accepted) Introduction In January 2010, the LINEAR survey make a remarkable detection: it discovered an asteroid with a […]

Towards Other Earths: Distinguishing Conditions on Exo-Continents Using Telescope Observations

As we discover exoplanets in droves and the first hints of habitable worlds emerge, astronomers are starting to look to the next step: the search for life on those worlds.

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