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Former Michelson Fellow Remi Soummer leads a team, including Sagan Fellow Laurent Pueyo, that has re-examined Hubble Space Telescope data from 1998 to find visual evidence for two of the four planets orbiting HR8799. Finding visual evidence for two of these planets in the 1998 Hubble data gives astronomers a time machine for comparing much earlier orbital motion data to more recent observations. Click here for the press release.
The 2011 workshop on "Exploring Exoplanets with Microlensing", was held July 25-29, 2011 on the Caltech campus. Presentations from the workshop can be viewed here.
The CoRoT project has announced the discovery of 10 new exoplanets. The planets were confirmed and further characterized using NASA time on the Keck telescopes. NASA's portion of time on the Keck telescopes is administered by NExScI. Click here to read the press release.
The symposium explored the synergy between exoplanets and asteroseismology and sought to advance the integral study of planetary systems and their host stars. Click here for the symposium website.
NStED announces that the 1235 Kepler exoplanet candidates have been integrated in the Kepler light curve service. Users can search on the planet candidate properties, the transit candidate properties and the stellar properties and retrieve a list of candidates matching the search criteria and retrieve all the public light curves associated with those candidates. The planet candidate interface is integrated with the NStED periodogram service.
Geoff Marcy's public lecture Earth-Size Planets and Intelligent Life in the Universe is now on-line, along with conference presentations, posters, and pictures. This conference was co-hosted by NExScI and NASA's ExoPlanet Exploration Program.
NExScI is pleased to announce the 2011 Sagan Postdoctoral Fellows! Click here for more information on the Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowship program.
Scientists using NASA's Kepler space telescope have discovered six planets orbiting a single sun-like star, known as Kepler-11, located approximately 2,000 light years from Earth. Kepler-11 has the fullest, most compact planetary system yet discovered beyond our own. The planets were confirmed and characterized further using NASA time on the Keck telescopes. NASA's portion of time on the Keck telescopes is administered by NExScI. Click here for the press release.
NASA's Kepler mission confirmed the discovery of its first rocky planet, named Kepler-10b. Measuring 1.4 times the size of Earth, it is the smallest planet ever discovered outside our solar system. The discovery is based on more than eight months of data collected by the spacecraft and was confirmed by ground-based observations made with NASA time on the Keck telescopes in Hawaii. NASA Keck time is administered by NExScI. Click here for the press release.
A study of the first Super-Earth to have a known atmosphere was published in the 2 December issue of Nature. The planet, GJ 1214b, is 2.7 times the size of Earth and is the smallest planet discovered to date to have a known atmosphere. Two of the paper's authors, Jacob Bean and Eliza Kempton, are Sagan Exoplanet Postdoctoral Fellows. The Sagan Postdoctoral Program is administered by NExScI. Click here for the press release.
A new census of nearby star systems similar to our sun reveals that small planets are substantially more common than large planets. Andrew Howard (UC Berkeley) is the lead author of the study, which appears in the 29 Oct issue of Science. The study used extensive time on the Keck telescopes as part of a NASA Key Science project. NASA's portion of time on the Keck telescopes is administered by NExScI. Click here for the press release.
NStED has released an online periodogram service. Users can upload time series data, and retrieve a periodocity analysis. The service uses three different algorithms geared towards different science applications. Users can upload their own light curves, Kepler and CoRoT FITS files, and any time-series data set available at NStED. The upload service is an extension of the periodogram tool already integrated with the Kepler Public Data service.
In the 1 Oct issue of Matthew Holman et al. report the discovery of a transiting planet whose 38.9 day orbit varies by up to 1 hour due to interaction with other planets in the system. Daniel Fabrycky, the second author, is a 2007 Michelson Postdoctoral Fellow (renamed in 2008 to the Sagan Fellows). NASA time on the Keck telescopes in Hawaii contributed to this discovery. The Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowship program and NASA Keck time are administered by NExScI. Click here to read the paper.
Astronomers Steven Vogt (UC Santa Cruz) and Paul Butler (Carnegie Inst.) have announced the discovery of the first potentially habitable exoplanet, Gliese 581g. The planet is 3x the mass of the Earth and is much closer to it's star than Earth is to the Sun. The discovery is the result of observations made in part with NASA time on the Keck telescopes. NASA Keck time is administered by NExScI. More information.
Workshop presentations are now online The workshop was sponsored by NExScI, the Penn State Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds and the Penn State Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Using a new mode of the Keck Interferometer, astronomers have probed the infall and outflow of material in a proto-planetary disk within 0.1 AU of the central star. Read the press release here.
Sagan Exoplanet Fellow Stefan Kraus (Univ. of Michigan) is the lead author on a Nature article describing the discovery of a massive disk of dust and gas around a giant young star. These disks have been found around much smaller stars and this discovery suggests that much larger stars form in the same way. The star is about 20x the mass of our Sun and the discovery opens up the possibility that planets may form around these more massive stars. Read the press release here.
CoRoT, a space telescope operated by the French space agency CNES, has announced the discovery of six new exoplanets and one brown dwarf. The planets, initially detected using the space telescope, are also studied with ground-based instruments to further characterize the exoplanet properties. For these new discoveries, observations made by Dr. Michael Endl of UT Austin and his team using NASA Keck time, administered by NExScI, contributed to the characterization of four of the new exoplanets. The NASA Exoplanet Archive is the US portal for public CoRoT data.
The SIM Science Studies were aimed at enhancing the science return from SIM Lite by supporting researchers to conduct concept studies, in preparation for observations using SIM Lite. The studies (summarized here) covered a range of topics from planet-detection to black holes and neutron stars.
Observations with the HIRES instrument at Keck Observatory have detected an extrasolar planet 4 times the mass of Earth around HD 156668. The study was led by Andrew Howard of UC Berkeley and included data taken as part of the NASA Eta Earth Key Project. Read the press release here.