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|
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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