Press Release

Did Nature Or Nurture Shape The Milky Way’s Most Common Planets?

Artist’s conception of the Transiting Exoplanets Satellite Survey, or TESS, (left) which identified the planet candidates studied by the MTS team. Illustration is courtesy of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

A Carnegie-led survey of exoplanet candidates identified by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanets Satellite Survey  (TESS) is laying the groundwork to help astronomers understand how the Milky Way’s most common planets formed and evolved, and determine why our Solar System’s pattern of planetary orbits and sizes is so unusual. 

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Carnegie-led team wins $1.5 million grant to study atmospheres of the galaxy’s most common exoplanets

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Carnegie’s Anat Shahar is the lead investigator on an interdisciplinary, multi-institution research team that this spring was awarded nearly $1.5 million from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to understand the chemical makeup of our galaxy’s most common planets with a goal of developing a framework for detecting chemical signatures of life on distant worlds.  

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Alaska’s Islands of the Four Mountains could be single giant volcano

Aerial oblique photo of the volcanoes in the Islands of Four Mountains, Alaska. In the center is the summit of Mount Tana. Behind Tana are (left to right) Herbert, Cleveland, and Carlisle Volcanoes. USGS Photo by John Lyons, July 29, 2014.

A small group of volcanic islands in Alaska's Aleutian chain could actually be part of a single, previously unrecognized giant volcano in the same category as Yellowstone, according to work from a research team, including Carnegie’s Diana Roman, Lara Wagner, Hélène Le Mével, and Daniel Portner, as well as recently departed postdoc Helen Janiszewski (now at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa), who will present their findings at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting next week.

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Where Were Jupiter And Saturn Born?

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New work led by Carnegie’s Matt Clement reveals the likely original locations of Saturn and Jupiter. These findings refine our understanding of the forces that determined our Solar System’s unusual architecture, including the ejection of an additional planet between Saturn and Uranus, ensuring that only small, rocky planets, like Earth, formed inward of Jupiter.

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Peculiar planetary system architecture around three Orion stars explained

New observations of GW Orionis, a triple star system with a peculiar inner region, revealed that this object has a warped planet-forming disk with a misaligned ring.

The discovery that our galaxy is teeming with exoplanets has also revealed the vast diversity of planetary systems out there and raised questions about the processes that shaped them. New work published in Science by an international team including Carnegie’s Jaehan Bae could explain the architecture of multi-star systems in which planets are separated by wide gaps and do not orbit on the same plane as their host star’s equatorial center.

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Probing the origin of the mantle’s chemically distinct “scars”

Basalt - Basalt, the most-common rock on Earth’s surface, encases green crystals--a geologic "nesting doll" phenomenon called a xenolith. Basalts such as this one derive from a section of the mantle that has been depleted in incompatible trace elements, w

 The composition of Earth’s mantle was shaped by interactions with the oceanic crust more than previously thought, according to work from Carnegie’s Jonathan Tucker and Peter van Keken along with colleagues from Oxford that was recently published in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems.

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