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A New Way with Old Stars: Fluctuation Spectroscopy

Astronomers use models to derive properties of individual stars that we cannot directly observe, such as mass, age, and radius. This is also the case for a group of stars (a galaxy or a star cluster). One problem with current stellar population models is that they remain untested for old populations of stars. The authors of this paper devise a new way to test models of old stellar populations.

Real-Time Stellar Evolution

Sometimes, stellar evolution happens on more human timescales—tens to hundreds of years rather than millions or billions.

Could we detect signs of life on a massive super-Earth?

We have one canonical idea of what life looks like on Earth: nitrogen, water, carbon dioxide. But would this be true on another world? When looking for life in the atmospheres of exoplanets, we might want to consider searching for something completely different.

ASASSN-13co: A Type-Defying Supernova

There are arguably a lot of things defy categorization, but it’s not everyday that we find something that suggests we do away with our categories altogether. The authors of today’s paper believe that the recently-discovered Type II supernova ASASSN-13co — read that as “assassin”, please — might just be one of the latter.

Exploring the Planetary Graveyard

Over the past decade the study of planetary debris at white dwarfs has become an increasingly exciting area. Observations of this debris have allowed us to make unique discoveries about the chemical composition of extrasolar rocky planets, as well as revealing the endpoints of the evolution of planetary systems very similar to our own…

Away From it All: Dwarf Galaxies in Voids

Nature vs. nurture in the evolution of galaxies is not completely understood. Where a galaxy is found, its environment, can play an important role in determining the properties of that galaxy. This may not always be true, however.

Most Asteroids are Not in the Asteroid Belt

Simulations show that the Oort cloud contains eight billion asteroids (in addition to hundreds of billions of comets). Do these asteroids pose a threat to Earth?

Habitability Still a Go on Tidally Locked Terrestrial Exoplanets

Yang et al. use climate models to investigate whether rocky exoplanets around M-stars can retain their oceans in the face of tidal locking.

Habitable Moons at the Ice Line?

Those of us who love astrobiology get really worked up about the lack of Earth-sized exoplanets found at Earth-like distances from their stars. All we want, we who hope for lots of extraterrestrial life, is a bunch of Earth-like planets doing Earth-like things so we can feel better about the odds for lots of Earth-like life in the universe.

What would a binary black hole merger look like?

What kind of lens is a BBH merger? These authors present the first pictures of light sources lensed by numerical models of BBH mergers.

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