The Most Exoplanets Claimed Around A Star System

by Dr. Tahir Yaqoob August 3, 2012

There are now over 100 multiplanet systems that have been found. At the beginning of August 2012, 105 out of 623 planetary systems outside of our solar system were known, which is just over 16 percent of all the exoplanet systems that had been discovered. (The corresponding total number of exoplanets was 777). Obviously, systems […]

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Extrasolar Planets 2012 Mid-Year Statistics

by Dr. Tahir Yaqoob July 9, 2012

We are halfway through the year, and it is a good time to see how the basic numbers pertaining to exoplanet observations have changed. As of July 6, 2012, according to the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia, the total confirmed planet count was nearly 800 (777), breaking down into 623 unique planetary systems, 101 of which harbored […]

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Pluto’s Fourth Moon and Exoplanets around Binary Star Systems

by Dr. Tahir Yaqoob June 14, 2012

You are probably wondering what the two parts of the title have to do with each other. Well, an interesting preprint appeared in May (2012) that describes some theoretical work on trying to measure the mass of two of Pluto’s moons, using the newly discovered fourth moon, and then the authors scale up the calculation […]

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Panspermia and Transfer of Life Between Planets

by Dr. Tahir Yaqoob May 24, 2012

The idea that life is compellingly prevalent throughout the Galaxy (panspermia), and the spreading of life throughout the Galaxy by means of transfer of life between planets by means of traveling microbes is not new. However a preprint of a paper that appeared in April 2012 by Hara et al., entitled Transfer of Life-Bearing Meteorites […]

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Exoplanet Research Paper Statistics and Sociology

by Dr. Tahir Yaqoob May 4, 2012

In this post I’ll talk about some interesting aspects of exoplanet research paper statistics and sociology. There is a nice tool on the physics/astrophysics preprint server that allows you to search the database of research papers for a keyword or phrase. It’s very basic and there is no documentation. I mean none. It’s not […]

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Criticality of the Radius Measurement of Exoplanets

by Dr. Tahir Yaqoob April 19, 2012

Two of the most basic and important things you would want to know about an exoplanet are its mass and size. Whilst most of the (currently) 763 exoplanets have a mass estimate, less than a third have a radius measurement. Getting a handle on the size of an exoplanet is harder than getting the mass […]

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Towards Probing Exoplanet Atmospheres

by Dr. Tahir Yaqoob March 28, 2012

One of the “holy grails” of exoplanet research is to be able to probe the chemical composition of a planet’s atmosphere if there is one. The motivation is of course, at least in part, to begin to assess the possibilities of life on a given exoplanet. The task is extremely challenging however, because an average […]

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The Exoplanet Evaporation Debate

by Dr. Tahir Yaqoob March 15, 2012

The hot Jupiter known as Osiris is famous for many things in exoplanet science (aside from the fact that it is one of the few exoplanets with a real name, it’s zip-code-like boring name being HD 209458b). One of these is that it has been at the center of a controversy about exoplanet evaporation. The […]

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Paradoxes in Physics

by Dr. Tahir Yaqoob March 2, 2012

Anyone who has read Exoplanets and Alien Solar Systems will know that I disdain the use of the term “paradox” in physics and math. Invariably, it means that the result that is called a paradox has its origins in a phenomenon that is not correctly understood, either because one or more assumptions is completely wrong […]

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Chirality of Amino Acids

by Dr. Tahir Yaqoob February 16, 2012

This post highlights how science reporting, including reporting by scientists themselves, often presents something as an explanation of a problem, whereas in reality the proposed explanation does not in fact solve the problem but simply defers the question. The issue in this post concerns the problem of chirality (or handedness) of amino acids in living […]

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