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AST 309L




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This document contains a listing of links to Astrobiology web sites, sites on extrasolar planets, and sites devoted to contact with extraterrestrial civilizations.

First, there is a topic covered in 11.3, usually called "Rare Earth hypothesis" that you should read, first in the text, and then at Wiki at:
Be careful you don't get sucked into all the links!

1. Exoplanet Web Pages and Links

The following web pages discuss extrasolar planet searches, or contain more links on the same subject. Spending time exploring these sites will make you much more comfortable with the different techniques, and familiar with some of the most interesting results. Please be sure to start by reading your textbook (Ch. 11.2,3) on detection methods, then the tutorials below to understand these methods more fully, then take a look at the various searches. We are concentrating on radial velocity method and transit method, but you should also be familiar with the astrometric and gravitational lensing methods--they will take a longer time to produce results (decades?).

Here are the links for exoplanet searches
  • Wikipedia: Extrasolar Planet
    Wiki extrasolar planets entry. Excellent. Link to page on "Methods of detecting extrasolar planets" up-to-date summary of notable exoplanet discoveries, with links. See Gliese 581c,d. Link to separate article on "superearths"

  • The Search for the Extrasolar Planets: A Brief History of the Search, the Findings and the Future Implications
    tutorial and links

  • California & Carnegie Planet Search: Links
    UC Berkeley set of links to many sites containing information on exoplanet searches and astrobiology/SETI in general.

  • Kepler Mission: Capabilities of Various Planet Detection Methods
    Excellent summary of different search methods; part of Kepler transit mission web site.

  • The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia
    Comprehensive collection of information and many links.

  • Extrasolar Planets Global Searches
    links to all ongoing exoplanet search projects.

  • PlanetQuest
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory/NASA exoplanet site, specializing in Keck, SIM, and TPF interferometer missions, but links to many more. See also: news

    STARE transit search program (1 detection so far). Contains brief tutorial on other methods and links.

  • Kepler: The Search is On
    description of Kepler Mission for detecting Earth-mass planets from space
Press releases of interest

2. Origin of Life

Many of the general astrobiology web sites listed below have sections on origin of life, but here are a few with more extended discussions to supplement textbook reading.
This is the index for the Wiki origin of life topics. The links to Abiogenesis is the main source, but also see Miller-Urey experiment, Peptide nucleic acid, RNA world hypothesis, Spiegelman Monster, and associated links.

I may add more later, but for now we shouldn't overload--the Wiki entry is probably plenty, except that it doesn't cover biological molecules. Try searching under "biomolecules."

3. Astrobiology Web Sites

4. Searching for Extraterrestrial Civilization


22 September 2008
Astronomy Program · The University of Texas at Austin · Austin, Texas 78712
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