News

Researchers Model Source of Eruption on Jupiter’s Moon Europa

A new model shows how brine on Jupiter’s moon Europa can migrate within the icy shell to form pockets of salty water that erupt to…

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Cores from Chicxulub crater reveal details about first days after asteroid strike that doomed the dinosaurs

New research supported by UT’s Center for Planetary Systems Habitability adds a new layer to the story of the end of the dinosaurs. The paper…

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A Young Sub-Neptune-sized Planet Sheds Light onto How Planets Form and Evolve

A team of astronomers including McDonald Observatory’s Bill Cochran have made a detailed study of a young planet slightly smaller than Neptune with the Habitable-zone…

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Studying Radioactive Aluminum in Solar Systems Unlocks Formation Secrets

An international team of astronomers including Stella Offner of The University of Texas at Austin has proposed a new method for the formation of aluminum-26…

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Arizona Rock Core Sheds Light on Triassic Dark Ages

A rock core from Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, has given scientists a powerful new tool to understand how catastrophic events shaped Earth’s ecosystems before…

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Dinosaur-dooming asteroid struck Earth at ‘deadliest possible’ angle

New simulations from Imperial College London have revealed the asteroid that doomed the dinosaurs struck Earth at the ‘deadliest possible’ angle.

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Exploring the Possibility of Life on Other Planets

Announcing the Center for Planetary Systems Habitability, a new cross-campus, interdisciplinary research unit at The University of Texas at Austin.

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Planet Finder Validates Its First Habitable-Zone Exoplanet, a Mini Neptune

Astronomers have validated their first exoplanet with the Habitable Zone Planet Finder instrument on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, one of the world’s largest telescopes, located at The University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory.

About twice the size of Earth and possibly 12 times as massive, the planet could be similar to Neptune, but in miniature. Called G 9-40b, it orbits a small star called a red dwarf about 100 light-years from Earth. It completes a full orbit every six Earth days.

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Texas Astronomer Helps NASA Planet Hunter Find its First Earth-Sized, Habitable-Zone World

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered its first Earth-size planet in its star’s habitable zone, the range of distances where conditions may be just right to allow the presence of liquid water on the surface. A team of scientists, including Andrew Vanderburg of The University of Texas at Austin, confirmed the find, called TOI 700 d, using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and have modeled the planet’s potential environments to help inform future observations.

TOI 700 d is one of only a few Earth-size planets discovered in a star’s habitable zone so far. Others include several planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system and other worlds discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope.

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