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!
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!
Our simple formula for predicting the probability that an exoplanet will transit might miss something important.
How long does planetary migration take? Crockett et al. look for the answer by searching for hot Jupiters around extremely young stars.
A team of astronomers and geologists have teamed up to study the composition of a rocky super-Earth which likely contains a layer of carbon in the form of diamond and graphite.
Low-mass stars are notoriously hard to model. What does the discovery of three new low-mass stars in binaries with Sun-like stars tell us about low-mass stars?
For the first time ever, radial velocity measurements of Barnard’s Star are used to search for planets. The existence of previously claimed system, involving two Jupiter-sized planets, is ruled out. The upper limits on the non-detection also rule out planets with masses above a few Earth masses.
Five new hypervelocity stars have been discovered in the outer regions of the Milky Way. In this paper, the authors discuss what these stars are, how they got so far away, and what their distribution implies about the center of our galaxy.
I like Cracked. You probably do too. But like that old adage that every newspaper story is true except for the ones for which you happen to have firsthand knowledge, I found their recent article on 6 Real Planets That Put Science Fiction To Shame to be . . . lacking. Not lacking in funny, or facts, but lacking in my favorite planets, and some of the weirdest specimens the universe has yet to offer up. So, without further ado, here are 6 more real planets (plus a bonus) that any sci-fi editor would have rejected as “too out there” just a few decades ago.