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 Exoplanet Kepler-62f

Article

Earth’s own evolution used as guide to hunt exoplanets

Cornell astronomers have created five models representing key points from our planet’s evolution, like chemical snapshots through Earth’s own geologic epochs.

They will use them as spectral templates in the hunt for Earth-like planets in distant solar systems in the approaching new era of powerful telescopes.

 Omar Padilla-Vélez and Renee Sifri examine the tensile strength of a high-density polyethylene “dog bone.”

Article

‘Triangle 2’ plastic containers may see environmental makeover

Recyclable plastic containers with the No. 2 designation could become even more popular for manufacturers as plastic milk jugs, dish soap containers and shampoo bottles may soon get an environmental makeover.

 The domed wind and thermal shield covers NASA InSight lander's seismometer

Article

InSight detects gravity waves, low rumbles and devilish dust

Don Banfield ‘87, principal research scientist at the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science, is the science lead for a suite of sensors aboard InSight.
 Earth, shown faintly in space

Article

Iconic ‘pale blue dot’ photo – Carl Sagan’s idea – turns 30

The photo of Earth was taken at a distance of 3.7 billion miles by the NASA spacecraft Voyager 1.
 Earth-sized planets at the TRAPPIST-1 star

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After dust-busting the cosmos, Spitzer telescope’s mission ends

The Spitzer Space Telescope – with its Cornell-developed infrared spectrograph instrument – has been peering through murky cosmic dust to study the distant heavens for 16 years. Originally scheduled to last 2.5 years, the mission officially will end Jan. 30.

Spitzer was the final mission of NASA’s Great Observatories program. The infrared spectrograph portion of the mission ended in 2010.

 Black and white close up of Comet 67P

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Dancing debris, moveable landscape shape Comet 67P

A comet once thought to be a quiet, dirty snowball cruising through the solar system becomes quite active when seen up close.
 Yervant Terzian

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Yervant Terzian, who explored matter between stars, dies at 80

Yervant Terzian, the Tisch Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Astronomy, who studied the physical matter between stars, dedicated his career to education and chaired the department for two decades, died Nov. 25 in Ithaca. Terzian was 80.

 Artist's rendition of the surface of Proxima b

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Looking for exoplanet life in all the right spectra

A Cornell senior has come up with a way to discern life on exoplanets: a spectral field guide.
 Artistic impression of Proxima b

Article

Looking for exoplanet life in all the right spectra

A Cornell senior has come up with a way to discern life on exoplanets loitering in other cosmic neighborhoods: a spectral field guide.
 Steve Squyres

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Planetary scientist Steve Squyres to retire from Cornell

Steve Squyres ’78, Ph.D. ’81, the James A. Weeks Professor of Physical Sciences, who has taught astronomy, conducted research and chaperoned two Mars rovers on their 300 million-mile journey to Earth’s rust-colored neighbor, will retire from Cornell Sept. 22.

 Lakes on Titan

Article

Explosive nitrogen created craters that pock Saturn moon Titan

Scientists solve mystery of steep ridges around Titan's methane lakes.
 Red sun and exoplanet with a biofluorescent glow, with a person in a spacesuit hovering above

Article

Fluorescent glow may reveal hidden life in the cosmos

Astronomers seeking life on distant planets may want to go for the glow.

Harsh ultraviolet radiation flares from red suns, once thought to destroy surface life on planets, might help uncover hidden biospheres. Their radiation could trigger a protective glow from life on exoplanets called biofluorescence, according to new Cornell research.

 Artist's rendition of the GJ357 planet system

Article

TESS satellite uncovers its ‘first nearby super-Earth’

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a mission designed to comb the heavens for exoplanets, has discovered its first potentially habitable world outside of our own solar system – and an international team of astronomers has characterized the super-Earth, about 31 light-years away.

 Image of campus from the columns outside Baker Lab

Article

Three A&S faculty win White House early career awards

The White House has recognized four Cornell faculty members – Thomas Hartman, Jenny Kao-Kniffin, Kin Fai Mak and Rebecca Slayton – with prestigious 2019 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The awards were announced July 2.

The award is the highest honor bestowed by the federal government to scientific and engineering professionals who are in first stages of their independent research careers and who show exceptional promise for leadership.

 To understand where exoplanets are in their own evolution, astronomers can use Earth’s biological milestones as a Rosetta stone.

Article

Exoplanet evolution: Astronomers expand cosmic ‘cheat sheet’

Cornell astronomers have reached into nature’s color palette from early Earth to create a cosmic “cheat sheet” for looking at distant worlds. By correlating tints and hues, researchers aim to understand where discovered exoplanets may reasonably fall along their own evolutionary spectrum.

 Phil Nicholson

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Nicholson wins astronomy’s 2019 Masursky Award

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) Division for Planetary Sciences will honor Cornell astronomy professor Phil Nicholson with the 2019 Harold Masursky Award, a prize for meritorious service to planetary science.

 Cassini captured this photo of Saturn's rings

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Flyby of Saturn’s C ring prompts plateau puzzlement

As NASA’s Cassini spacecraft threaded its way through Saturn’s rings to acquire the last drops of data before its fatal plunge into the planet nearly two years ago, it collected spectral information about the enchanting C ring and its bright plateaus.

Instead of uncovering definitive scientific answers, the spectral images from the Cassini flyby triggered more questions, according to new research published June 13 in Science.

 A graduation cap message honoring Carl Sagan

Article

Smiles, sunshine, sweets and song punctuate Commencement

As students began to line up for Cornell’s 2019 Commencement May 26, the morning skies that threatened rain gave way to rays of sunshine wriggling between the clouds. Families noshed on bagels, cream cheese and coffee in Collegetown before heading to Schoellkopf Field for the pomp and circumstance.

 Merrill Scholar thanks her high school teacher

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Merrill scholars honor their mentoring teachers, professors

The arc of educational continuity and inspirational teaching was celebrated May 22 at the 31st annual Merrill Presidential Scholars convocation in Willard Straight Hall. Thirty-four seniors – among the very best of the Class of 2019 – honored beloved, guiding-light high school teachers and inspirational Cornell faculty members.

 Jacob Mathal

Article

Rawlings scholars exhibit wide-ranging research

Fresh air, nature and playing outdoors is the perfect prescription for sedentary and sluggish children, Briana Lui ’19 advises. Lui and more than three dozen Cornell seniors presented their undergraduate research at the 17th annual Hunter R. Rawlings III Research Scholars Senior Expo on April 17 in the Physical Sciences Building and the Clark Atrium.
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