Science Current Events | Science News |

Looking for Earths by looking for Jupiters

May 08, 2012

Washington, D.C.- In the search for Earth-like planets, it is helpful to look for clues and patterns that can help scientist narrow down the types of systems where potentially habitable planets are likely to be discovered. New research from a team including Carnegie's Alan Boss narrows down the search for Earth-like planets near Jupiter-like planets. Their work indicates that the early post-formation movements of hot-Jupiter planets probably disrupt the formation of Earth-like planets.

Their work is published the week of May 7 by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The team, led by Jason Steffen of the Fermilab Center for particle Astrophysics, used data from NASA's Kepler mission to look at so-called "hot Jupiter" planets-those roughly Jupiter-sized planets with orbital periods of about three days. If a Jupiter-like planet has been discovered by a slight dimming of brightness in the star it orbits as it passes between the star and Earth, it is then possible-within certain parameters-to determine whether the hot-Jupiter has any companion planets.

Of the 63 candidate hot Jupiter systems identified by Kepler, the research team did not find any evidence for nearby companion planets. There are several possible explanations. One is that there are no companion planets for any of these hot Jupiters. Another is that the companions are too small in either size or mass to be detected using these methods. Lastly it is possible that there are companion planets, but that the configuration of their orbits makes them undetectable using these methods.

However, when expanding the search to include systems with either Neptune-like planets (known as "hot Neptunes"), or "warm Jupiters" (Jupiter-sized planets with slightly larger orbits than hot Jupiters), the team found some potential companions. Of the 222 hot Neptunes, there were two with possible companions, and of the 31 warm Jupiters, there were three with possible companions.

"The implications of these findings are that systems with Earth-like planets formed differently than systems with hot Jupiters," Boss said. "Since we believe that hot Jupiters formed farther out, and then migrated inward toward their stars, the inward migration disrupted the formation of Earth-like planets. If our sun had a hot Jupiter, we would not be here."


Funding for the Kepler mission is provided by NASA's Science Mission Directorate. Support for some of the scientists was provided by NASA via the Kepler Participating Scientist program and Hubble Fellowship grants.

The Carnegie Institution for Science ( is a private, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with six research departments throughout the U.S. Since its founding in 1902, the Carnegie Institution has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.

Carnegie Institution

Related Planetary Science Current Events and Planetary Science News Articles

Ancient tsunami evidence on Mars reveals life potential
The geologic shape of what were once shorelines through Mars' northern plains convinces scientists that two large meteorites - hitting the planet millions of years apart - triggered a pair of mega-tsunamis.

Allan Sandage's last paper unravels 100-year-old astronomical mystery
Carnegie's Allan Sandage, who died in 2010, was a tremendously influential figure in the field of astronomy.

Squeezing out mountains, mathematically, on Jupiter's moon Io
Mountains aren't the first thing that hit you when you look at images of Jupiter's innermost moon, Io. But once you absorb the fact that the moon is slathered in sulfurous lava erupted from 400 active volcanoes, you might turn your attention to scattered bumps and lumps that turn out, on closer inspection, to be Io's version of mountains.

Exoplanets' complex orbital structure points to planetary migration in solar systems
The four planets of the Kepler-223 star system seem to have little in common with the planets of Earth's own solar system. And yet a new study shows that the Kepler-223 system is trapped in an orbital configuration that Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune may have broken from in the early history of the solar system.

How algae could save plants from themselves
Algae may hold the key to feeding the world's burgeoning population. Don't worry; no one is going to make you eat them.

What lies beneath West Antarctica?
Three recent publications by early career researchers at three different institutions across the country provide the first look into the biogeochemistry, geophysics and geology of Subglacial Lake Whillans, which lies 800 meters (2,600 feet) beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Young, unattached Jupiter analog found in solar neighborhood
A team of astronomers from Carnegie and the University of Western Ontario has discovered one of the youngest and brightest free-floating, planet-like objects within relatively close proximity to the Sun.

Tiny, ancient galaxy preserves record of catastrophic event
The lightest few elements in the periodic table formed minutes after the Big Bang. Heavier chemical elements are created by stars, either from nuclear fusion in their interiors or in catastrophic explosions.

Portion of ancient Australian chert microstructures definitively pseudo-fossils
A team of scientists including Carnegie's Dina Bower and Andrew Steele weigh in on whether microstructures found in 3.46 billion-year-old samples of a silica-rich rock called chert found in Western Australia are the planet's oldest fossils.

Making sense of metallic glass
If you freeze any liquid fast enough, even liquid metal, it becomes a glass. Vitrified metals, or metallic glasses, are at the frontier of materials science research.
More Planetary Science Current Events and Planetary Science News Articles

Planetary Sciences

Planetary Sciences
by Imke de Pater (Author), Jack J. Lissauer (Author)

An authoritative introduction for graduate students in the physical sciences, this award-winning textbook explains the wide variety of physical, chemical, and geological processes that govern the motions and properties of planets. This updated second edition has been revised and improved while maintaining its existing structure and organization. Many data tables and plots have been updated to account for the latest measurements. A new Appendix focuses on recent discoveries since the second edition was first published. These include results from Cassini, Kepler, MESSENGER, MRO, LRO, Dawn at Vesta, Curiosity, and others, as well as many ground-based observatories. With over 300 exercises to help students apply the concepts covered, this textbook is ideal for graduate courses in astronomy,...

Fundamental Planetary Science: Physics, Chemistry and Habitability

Fundamental Planetary Science: Physics, Chemistry and Habitability
by Jack J. Lissauer (Author), Imke de Pater (Author)

A quantitative introduction to the Solar System and planetary systems science for advanced undergraduate students, this engaging new textbook explains the wide variety of physical, chemical, and geological processes that govern the motions and properties of planets. The authors provide an overview of our current knowledge and discuss some of the unanswered questions at the forefront of research in planetary science and astrobiology today. They combine knowledge of the Solar System and the properties of extrasolar planets with astrophysical observations of ongoing star and planet formation, offering a comprehensive model for understanding the origin of planetary systems. The book concludes with an introduction to the fundamental properties of living organisms and the relationship that life...

Introduction to Planetary Science: The Geological Perspective

Introduction to Planetary Science: The Geological Perspective
by Gunter Faure (Author), Teresa M. Mensing (Author)

This textbook details basic principles of planetary science that help to unify the study of the solar system. It is organized in a hierarchical manner so that every chapter builds upon preceding ones. Starting with historical perspectives on space exploration and the development of the scientific method, the book leads the reader through the solar system. Coverage explains that the origin and subsequent evolution of planets and their satellites can be explained by applications of certain basic principles of physics, chemistry, and celestial mechanics and that surface features of the solid bodies can be interpreted by principles of geology.

Planetary Sciences

Planetary Sciences
by Imke de Pater (Author), Jack J. Lissauer (Author)

Planetary Sciences presents a comprehensive coverage of this fascinating and expanding field at a level appropriate for graduate students and researchers in the physical sciences. The book explains the wide variety of physical, chemical and geological processes that govern the motions and properties of planets. Observations of the planets, moons, asteroids, comets and planetary rings in our Solar System, as well as extrasolar planets, are described, and the process of planetary formation is discussed.

Planetary Science, Solar Science and Earth Science

Planetary Science, Solar Science and Earth Science
by John Wayne (Editor)

This book provides comprehensive insights into the field of planetary sciences, solar sciences and earth sciences through extensive discussions on various topics like scaling, criticality in turbulence, nonlinear waves, time series, pattern formations, etc. which have been thoroughly elucidated. This book is an excellent guide for those wanting to acquire advanced knowledge. It is ideal for students and academicians of planetary sciences, astronomy, physics, earth sciences and associated disciplines as it provides many interesting topics which can be taken up for research.

The Planetary Omnibus

The Planetary Omnibus
by Warren Ellis (Author)

PLANETARY has been hailed as a timeless story that turned modern superhero conventions on their heads.Written by Warren Ellis (TRANSMETROPOLITAN) and with stunning art by John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men), this critically acclaimed, landmark series took a look at the inter-dimensional peace-keeping force known as Planetary. The trio on the ground includes Elijah Snow, a hundred-year-old man, Jakita Wagner, an extremely powerful woman, and The Drummer, a man with the ability to communicate with machines. Tasked with tracking down evidence of super-human activity, these mystery archaeologists uncover unknown paranormal secrets and histories, such as a World War II supercomputer that can access other universes, a ghostly spirit of vengeance, and a lost island of dying monsters.

All 27...

Planetary Science: The Science of Planets around Stars, Second Edition

Planetary Science: The Science of Planets around Stars, Second Edition
by George H. A. Cole (Author), Michael M. Woolfson (Author)

Since the publication of the popular first edition, stellar and planetary scientists have produced numerous new observations, theories, and interpretations, including the "demotion" of our former ninth planet Pluto as a dwarf planet. Covering all of these new discoveries, Planetary Science: The Science of Planets around Stars, Second Edition explains the science associated with the planets, the stars they orbit, and the interactions between them. It examines the formation, evolution, and death of stars and the properties of the Sun that influence the planets of the Solar System. Along with more problems, this second edition adds new material and improves some analytical treatments. The book consists of two main components. For students unfamiliar with stellar properties or the overall...

Planetary Surface Processes (Cambridge Planetary Science)

Planetary Surface Processes (Cambridge Planetary Science)
by H. Jay Melosh (Author)

Planetary Surface Processes is the first advanced textbook to cover the full range of geologic processes that shape the surfaces of planetary-scale bodies. Using a modern, quantitative approach, this book reconsiders geologic processes outside the traditional terrestrial context. It highlights processes that are contingent upon Earth's unique circumstances and processes that are universal. For example, it shows explicitly that equations predicting the velocity of a river are dependent on gravity: traditional geomorphology textbooks fail to take this into account. This textbook is a one-stop source of information on planetary surface processes, providing readers with the necessary background to interpret new data from NASA, ESA and other space missions. Based on a course taught by the...

CSET Earth and Planetary Science Exam Secrets Study Guide: CSET Test Review for the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (Mometrix Secrets Study Guides)

CSET Earth and Planetary Science Exam Secrets Study Guide: CSET Test Review for the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (Mometrix Secrets Study Guides)
by CSET Exam Secrets Test Prep Team (Author)

***Includes Practice Test Questions*** Get the test prep help you need to be successful on the CSET Earth and Planetary Science Exam. The CSET Earth and Planetary Science Exam is extremely challenging and thorough test preparation is essential for success. CSET Earth and Planetary Science Exam Secrets Study Guide is the ideal prep solution for anyone who wants to pass the CSET Earth and Planetary Science Exam. Not only does it provide a comprehensive guide to the CSET Earth and Planetary Science Exam as a whole, it also provides practice test questions as well as detailed explanations of each answer. CSET Earth and Planetary Science Exam Secrets Study Guide includes: A thorough and detailed overview of information needed for California earth & planetary science teachers. An...

Thermodynamics in Earth and Planetary Sciences

Thermodynamics in Earth and Planetary Sciences
by Jibamitra Ganguly (Author)

Based on a university course, this book provides an exposition of a large spectrum of geological, geochemical and geophysical problems that are amenable to thermodynamic analysis. It also includes selected problems in planetary sciences, relationships between thermodynamics and microscopic properties, particle size effects, methods of approximation of thermodynamic properties of minerals, and some kinetic ramifications of entropy production. The textbook will enable graduate students and researchers alike to develop an appreciation of the fundamental principles of thermodynamics, and their wide ranging applications to natural processes and systems.

© 2016