News: Research

2020

NASA’s TESS spacecraft discovers its first habitable planet, first world with two stars

January 9, 2020

NASA’s TESS spacecraft discovers its first habitable planet, first world with two stars


2019

Parker Solar Probe’s first discoveries: Odd phenomena in space weather, solar wind

December 5, 2019

NASA mission named for pioneering UChicago scientist produces landmark research


Astronomers Propose a Novel Method of Finding Atmospheres on Rocky Worlds

December 2, 2019

When NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope launches in 2021, one of its most anticipated contributions to astronomy will be the study of exoplanets—planets orbiting distant stars. Among the most pressing questions in exoplanet science is: Can a small, rocky exoplanet orbiting close to a red dwarf star hold onto an atmosphere?

In a series of four papers in the Astrophysical Journal, a team of astronomers proposes a new method of using Webb to determine whether a rocky exoplanet has an atmosphere. The technique, which involves measuring the planet’s temperature as it passes behind its star and then comes back into view, is significantly faster than more traditional methods of atmospheric detection like transmission spectroscopy.

“We find that Webb could easily infer the presence or absence of an atmosphere around a dozen known rocky exoplanets with less than 10 hours of observing time per planet,” said Jacob Bean of the University of Chicago, a co-author on three of the papers.


Prof. Jacob Bean is the science team lead for the new CASE mission

November 14, 2019

Congratulations to UChicago Astronomy & Astrophysics Professor Jacob Bean, who is the new NASA science team lead for CASE!

NASA will contribute an instrument to a European space mission to explore the atmospheres of hundreds of exoplanets.

The instrument, called the Contribution to ARIEL Spectroscopy of Exoplanets, or CASE, adds scientific capabilities to ESA's Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey, or ARIEL, mission.


Mining historical glass slides for astronomical data

November 6, 2019

A test image from the pilot study on mining astronomical data from historical glass slides.


Nearly a decade in the making, exoplanet-hunting instrument installed in Hawaii

October 2, 2019

MAROON-X team members and Gemini Observatory staff standing in front of the Gemini North telescope with the MAROON-X unit.


Ambitious project to map the Big Bang’s afterglow earns NSF funding

September 26, 2019

UChicago-led proposal receives NSF funding for pioneering sky measurements


Professor Wendy Freedman leads study for new measurement of disputed constant

August 20, 2019

University of Chicago professor Wendy Freedman and colleagues have a new measurement for the rate of expansion in the modern universe, suggesting the space between galaxies is stretching faster than scientists would expect. The paper, “An Independent Determination of the Hubble Constant Based on the Tip of the Red Giant Branch,” Freedman et al, was published on July 12, 2019, in The Astrophysical Journal.