Astronomers announced today that they have found the organic molecule methyl alcohol, or methanol, in the TW Hydrae protoplanetary disk. This is the first such detection of this chemical compound in a young planet-forming disk. Because methanol forms on the icy coatings of small dust grains, this discovery provides a window into the region where comets likely are forming.
"Our Earth consists of silicate rocks and an iron core with a thin veneer of water and life. But the first potentially habitable worlds to form might have been very different. New research suggests that planet formation in the early universe might have created carbon planets consisting of graphite, carbides, and diamond. Astronomers might find these diamond worlds by searching a rare class of stars.
"'This work shows that even stars with a tiny fraction of the carbon in our solar system can host planets,' says lead author and Harvard University graduate student Natalie Mashian....
The graduate student retreat was a success again this year! Roughly 20 students participated (including 5 first-years) in a day trip to Salem, MA. Students explored Salem, visited the Friendship ship, went kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing. At the end of the day, they gathered for an outdoor barbecue with a beautiful view of the harbor.
Dave Charbonneau and Avi Loeb joined forces to announce honors and awards at the annual Honors Colloquium on Monday, May 23. Among the many students cited, two undergraduates received Goldberg Prizes (Tom Leith and Matt Pasquini) and two graduates received Fireman Fellowships (Maria Drout and Elisabeth Newton). ... Read more about 2016 Astronomy Honors Colloquium and Picnic
Astronomy’s Yuan-Sen Ting will participate in the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.He was chosen via an international, multi-stage application process. The 396 grad students and post docs, all under the age of 35 from 80 countries, will get the chance to spend a week with 30 Nobel Laureates mainly from the field of physics. Many participants will have the opportunity to...
"Dwarf galaxies are typically very faint, and are therefore hard to find. Given that, what are our chances of finding their distant ancestors, located billions of light-years away? A recent study aims to find out."
Graduate student Catherine Zucker’s research was featured on the American Astronomical Society’s “Nova” (News) site! Cara Battersby, SMA postdoc collaborator & Catherine’s REU mentor is the other co-author.
August 24, 2015, a group of Harvard Astronomy students returned from the first annual undergraduate field trip to Hawaii. They spent six days on the Big Island, which included a visit to Volcanoes National Park and Punalu'u Beach (black sand beach), and then three nights on...
Astronomers, including Harvard's Courtney Dressing, announced on Tuesday that they had found eight new planets orbiting their stars at distances compatible with liquid water, bringing the total number of potentially habitable planets in the just-right “Goldilocks” zone to a dozen or two, depending on how the habitable zone of a star is defined.