Water detected on an exoplanet located in its star’s habitable zone

An international study lead by Université de Montréal astronomer Björn Benneke has detected water vapour on the planet K2-18b; this represents a major discovery in the search of alien life. Ever since the discovery of the…

The dark side of extrasolar planets share surprisingly similar temperatures

A new study by McGill University astronomers has found that the temperature on the nightsides of different hot Jupiters is surprisingly uniform, suggesting the dark side of these massive gaseous planets have clouds made of minerals and rocks. Using data from the Spitzer Space and the Hubble Space telescopes, the researchers from the McGill Space Institute found that…

iREx astronomers determine Earth’s fingerprint in hopes of finding habitable planets beyond the Solar System

Two iREx astronomers have assembled a “fingerprint” for Earth, which could be used to identify a planet beyond our Solar System capable of supporting life. McGill Physics student Evelyn Macdonald and her supervisor Prof. Nicolas Cowan…

Probing a new class of exoplanets

An international team led by UdeM astronomer gets a clearer picture of what is likely the most abundant type of planet in the Universe. It was a daunting task that took five years and the accumulation…

Too much sodium turns a star blue

An international team of astrophysicists, led by researchers from the Université de Montréal, has identified a star on which a sodium-rich asteroid has crashed, drastically transforming its apparent color. These results raise many questions about the…

All systems go for exo-Earth hunter SPIRou

Nine months after capturing its first images from atop Maunakea in Hawaii, the scientific instrument SPIRou (SpectroPolarimètre InfraRouge) got the green light to begin its first scientific observation campaign at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). The instrument was…

Twice the size of Earth

Young Canadian student at Université de Montréal discovers new exoplanet ideal for detailed characterization. Wolf 503b, an exoplanet twice the size of Earth, has been discovered by an international team using data from NASA’s Kepler Space…

Discovering the closest habitable worlds: the grand planet survey

SPIRou’s long awaited large planet survey will be debuting soon. This program will extent for a period of three to five years at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and will allow for the detection of planets orbiting 100…

When do aging brown dwarfs sweep the clouds away?

Brown dwarfs, the larger cousins of giant planets, undergo atmospheric changes from cloudy to cloudless as they age and cool. A team of astronomers led by Carnegie’s Jonathan Gagné measured for the first time the temperature…

A ‘hot Jupiter’ with unusual winds

Puzzling finding raises new questions about atmospheric physics of giant planets The hottest point on a gaseous planet near a distant star isn’t where astrophysicists expected it to be – a discovery that challenges scientists’ understanding…