First laboratory light for the spectrograph ESPRESSO
Five years after kick-off, the instrument ESPRESSO produces its first images. It is a laboratory first light, but nevertheless an important moment for the many scientists involved in the construction of the very high resolution spectrograph for the ESO VLT (Very Large Telescope), among them ten of our colleagues. We expect ESPRESSO to give fundamental contributions in the search for and characterization of rocky exo-planets in the habitable zone of nearby stars, and in the measurement of the possible variability of the fundamental physical constants.
Link to the post on the first light in the web page of ESPRESSO
ESPRESSO web page at the OATs
From climate models to planetary habitability: temperature constraints for complex life
The liquid water criterion for planetary habitability implies a temperature range wider than the thermal limits of organisms able to affect the atmospheric composition. On the other hand, the search for life on exoplanets relies on the detection of atmospheric biosignatures. A recent paper introduces a new temperature-based habitability index suited for the potential emergence of complex life and generation of atmospheric biosignatures, and explores with a climate model its consequences for the habitable zone.
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