This tag is associated with 9 posts

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 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 […]

Sgr A*: A flickering black hole

Witzel et. al examine the statistical properties of the photometric variability of our Galaxy’s central black hole.

Figure 2

The Study of Climate on Alien Worlds

“Characterizing atmospheres beyond the Solar System is an endeavor no longer confined to the realm of science fiction.”

NGC 4261′s off-kilter globular cluster population

We think many galaxies we see today had mergers and interactions in their past, but how can we know for sure? Bonfini et al. look to evidence from a subtle pattern in the distribution of globular clusters in NGC 4261.

An asteroid rotation factory

Title: Asteroid rotation periods from the Palomar Transient Factory survey Authors: D. Polishook, E. O. Ofek, A. Waszczak, S. R. Kulkarni, A. Gal-Yam, O. Aharonson, R. Laher, J. Surace, C. Klein, J. Bloom, N. Brosch, D. Prialnik, C. Grillmair et al. First Author’s Institution: Benoziyo Center for Astrophysics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel Determination of […]

How do astronomers measure the brightness of something?

Sounds like a simple question. When you go out and look at the stars at night with your naked eye, you might be able to pretty easily sort out which stars are the brightest, which are the faintest, and come up with some ranking of them for those in between. Now, do this with telescopes…

Looking back in time with DASCH

How do stars vary on a hundred year time scale? The DASCH (Digital Access to a Sky Century @ Harvard) Team has been looking back at data taken over the last century in order to answer this question. This paper reports the most recent DASCH discovery, which concerns the star KU Cyg. This is an eclipsing binary system in which a more massive F star is gaining mass from a red giant. The authors noticed a 0.5 magnitude drop in the brightness of the star around 1900 that lasts for five years.

Studying stellar activity with CoRoT

Stellar variability has received more attention recently due to the problems it poses in the detection of exoplanets; however the study of variability is a field of its own. What causes activity? How does magnetic activity vary with different stars? This paper looks at results from the CoRoT satellite (for Convection, Rotation and planetary Transits), which was launched in December of 2006. This paper is concerned with the long-term photometric microvariability of stars and how stellar activity relates to rotation period and temperature.

The Earth (Image from NASA)

The Colors of a Second Earth

Assuming that we have acquired the spectrum of a distant terrestrial planet, what would it look like? Would we able to resolve surface features? More excitingly, would we be able to detect biomarkers in the atmospheres of alien Earths?

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