Results from NASA's Kepler planet-hunting mission have indicated that the most common planets in the galaxy are super-Earths—those that are bigger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. We have no examples of these planets in our own solar system, so Heather Knutson, assistant professor of planetary science at Caltech, and her colleagues are using space telescopes to try to find out more about these worlds. They hope to shed some light on the processes of planet formation and evolution and to be able to say something about how common or rare our solar system is when compared to those found throughout the universe.
Scientific authorities on the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project announced on Friday that they have now signed a master agreement formalizing project goals and providing a governing framework for the international collaboration.
An international team of researchers, including Caltech's Geoffrey Blake, has used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to capture the first image of a snow line around a Sun-like star. The findings appear in the current issue of Science Express.
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have discovered evidence for an ancient delta on Mars where a river might once have emptied into a vast ocean. This ocean, if it existed, could have covered much of Mars's northern hemisphere—stretching over as much as a third of the planet.
John Grotzinger, Caltech’s Fletcher Jones Professor of Geology and project scientist for Curiosity—JPL’s newest Mars rover, exploring the floor of Gale Crater—will describe its discoveries so far during a free public lecture on Wednesday, April 24.
If you could lick the surface of Jupiter's icy moon Europa, you would actually be sampling a bit of the ocean beneath. So says Mike Brown, an astronomer at Caltech. Brown and Kevin Hand from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have found the strongest evidence yet that water from the vast liquid ocean beneath Europa's frozen exterior actually makes its way to the surface.
John A. Johnson, assistant professor of planetary astronomy at Caltech, received the 2012 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize at the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), in Long Beach, California.
Look up at the night sky and you'll see stars, sure. But you're also seeing planets—billions and billions of them. At least.
That's the conclusion of a new study by astronomers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) that provides yet more evidence that planetary systems are the cosmic norm. The team made their estimate while analyzing planets orbiting a star called Kepler-32—planets that are representative, they say, of the vast majority in the galaxy and thus serve as a perfect case study for understanding how most planets form.