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NASA Exoplanet Science Institute Headlines

NExScI is the science operations and analysis center for NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program. We provide tools and archives for the exoplanet community, administer the Sagan program of fellowships and workshops, and support the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer and administration of the NASA Keck telescope time. Click here to see past headlines and events.

Stardust Not Likely to Block Planet Portraits

A study by Bertrand Mennesson (JPL) and Rafael Millan-Gabet (NExScI) used Keck Interferometer data to tightly constrain the amount of exozodi dust likely to be encountered by future missions to image exo-Earths. The study also found a link between warm dust in the habitable zones of nearby Sun-like stars and more distant colder dust reservoirs analogous to the Kuiper belt. This link could be used to select stars around which to search for exo-Earths. Read more in the full stories from JPL and WMKO.

Farthest Lensing Galaxy Yields Clues to Early Universe

While analyzing spectrographic data from the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, NASA Keck PI Kim Vy-Tran spotted a strong detection of hot hydrogen gas that appeared to arise from a massive, bright elliptical galaxy. This fingerprint of hydrogen led to the discovery of a record-breaking cosmic magnifying glass. Read the full story.

Precise Measurement of an Alien World's Sizeimage

Sagan Fellow Sarah Ballard is the lead author on a ApJ paper describing the most precise measurement ever of the radius of a planet outside our solar system. The findings confirm Kepler-93b as a "super-Earth", about one-and-a-half times the size of our planet. Although super-Earths are common in the galaxy, none exist in our solar system. Exoplanets like Kepler-93b are therefore our only laboratories to study this major class of planet.

Call for 2015 Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowship Applications

The call for applications for the 2015 Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowships is now closed. Click here for more information on the program.

2015 Sagan Summer Workshop

The 2015 Sagan Summer Workshop on Exoplanetary System Demographics: Theory and Observation will be held July 27-31, 2015 at Caltech. Click here for more information.

2014 Sagan Summer Workshop

Videos of the presentations from this year's workshop on Imaging Planets and Disks are now posted, view them here and on the Sagan Summer Workshop YouTube channel.

Call for 2015A NASA Keck Proposals

The 2015A call is closed. Click here for more information.

Nearby Star List Available

Future efforts to image exoplanets directly will concentrate on the nearest and brightest stars. A catalog listing the properties of such stars is now available for use in planning such missions (e.g. WFIRST-AFTA).

Second Kepler Science Conference, Nov. 4-8, 2013

Archived videos of talks, including the public lecture by Frank Drake, are available as links on the agenda page.

White Paper Submissions to Keck Strategic Planning

KOA Releases ESI Data

The Keck Observatory Archive (KOA) has released to the public data from the Echellette Spectrograph and Imager (ESI) instrument. 780 nights of data have been released, consisting of 21,988 science files and 27,935 calibration files. KOA has also released to PIs, 973 nights of data from the the now decommissioned Near Infrared Camera (NIRC), comprising 263,238 files with a data volume of 276 GB. These data will start to become public in July 2015. Access ESI, NIRC, and other data here.

NExScI 101

For an introduction to NExScI's managed and supported data tools, archives, telescope time, meetings, and fellowships, click here. This PDF file contains the NExScI brochure and handouts prepared for the June 2014 AAS meeting in Boston. The movie that we show at the NExScI booth can be viewed here.