Documenting the Coming Singularity

Saturday, March 16, 2013

First Ever Actual View of Another Planetary System

Kurzweil News - 3.14.13

New imaging tools penetrate bright starlight to image planets; could help identify candidate habitable planets for 100YSS expedition.
American Museum of Natural History
Researchers have conducted a remote reconnaissance of a distant solar system with a new telescope imaging system that sifts through the blinding light of stars.

Using a suite of high-tech instrumentation and software called Project 1640, the scientists collected the first chemical fingerprints, or spectra, of this system’s four red exoplanets, which orbit a star 128 light years away from Earth.

A detailed description of the planets — showing how drastically different they are from the known worlds in the universe — was accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

Overcoming bright starlight

The planets surrounding the star of this study, HR 8799, have been imaged in the past. But except for a partial measurement of the outermost planet in the system, the star’s bright light overwhelmed previous attempts to study the planets with spectroscopy, a technique that splits the light from an object into its component colors — as a prism spreads sunlight into a rainbow.

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