Small, cool and sulfurous exoplanet may help write recipe for planetary formation

Astronomers observing exoplanet GJ 3470 b saw evidence of water, carbon dioxide, methane and sulfur dioxide, findings that UW–Madison astronomer Thomas Beatty presented in Madison today at the 244th meeting of the American Astronomical Society and that he will soon publish in Astrophysical Journal Letters with co-authors from Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, NASA’s Ames Research Center and other organizations.

Superflares may be less harmful to exoplanets than previously thought, study shows

Astronomers have long suspected that superflares, extreme radiation bursts from stars, can cause lasting damage to the atmospheres — and thus habitability — of exoplanets. A new study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society reports that they pose only a limited danger to planetary systems.