Planets

Underground ice exposed at the steep slope that appears bright blue in this enhanced-color view (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/USGS)

An article published in the journal “Science” describes the discovery of eight areas on the planet Mars where soil erosion revealed the presence of large glaciers. A team of researchers located and studied the areas thanks to NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) space probe’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera. The slopes generated by erosion offer new information on those glaciers’ stratified structure and consequently on the red planet’s climate history.

Artist's concept of the TRAPPIST-1 system (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An article published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” describes a research that tries to provide an estimate of the possibilities for the 7 planets of the ultra-cool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 to maintain an atmosphere. A team of researchers created simulations that took into account the characteristics of TRAPPIST-1’s stellar wind and the possible speed at which the planets’ atmosphere would be torn away from them. The conclusion is that the two outermost planets could maintain an atmosphere for billions of years.

Artist's concept of the star K2-106 and its planets (Image courtesy / Vincenzo Guido, Emilio Molinari)

An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” describes the study of two super-Earths in the system of the star K2-106. A team of astronomers led by Eike W. Guenther of the Thuringian State Observatory in Tautenburg, Germany used various telescopes to collect the data needed to determine the characteristics of the two exoplanets. The conclusion is that they’re both larger than the Earth but one is unusually dense while the other has a significantly lower density.

Artist's concept of the star RZ Piscium surrounded by blobs of gas and dust (Image NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab)

An article published in “The Astronomical Journal” describes a research on the young star RZ Piscium that offers an explanation for the strange variations of its brightness. A team of astronomers used detections made with ESA’s XMM-Newton space observatory, the Shane telescope at Lick Observatory in California and the Keck I telescope at W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii concluding that probably RZ Piscium is destroying at least some planets in its star system or two gas-rich planets collided.

Artist's concept of the planet GJ 436b with its tail (Image courtesy Mark Garlick/University of Warwick)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a research on the planet GJ 436b, whose orbit around its star turned out to be almost polar instead of equatorial. A team of researchers led by the University of Geneva (UNIGE)Switzerland, discovered this strange new characteristic of this exoplanet’s orbit, already known because its orbit is very eccentric and above all because it has a huge tail similar to a comet’s.