Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Advances In Telescopes Will Make It Possible To View Exoplanets By Hiding Interfering Starlight

Sifting Starlight These two images show HD 157728, a nearby star 1.5 times larger than the sun. The star is centered in both images, and its light has been mostly removed by an adaptive optics system and coronagraph belonging to Project 1640, which uses new technology on the Palomar Observatory's 200-inch Hale telescope to spot planets. Project 1640/NASA-JPL

New Telescope Optics Can Directly View Exoplanets By Hiding Interfering Starlight -- Popular Science

For now, the thousands of potential exoplanets discovered in the past two years are little more than curvy dips on a graph. Astronomers using the Kepler Space Telescope pick them out by examining the way they blot out their own stars’ light as they move through their orbits. But if astronomers could block out the stars themselves, they may be able to see the planets directly. A new adaptive optics system on the storied Palomar Observatory just started doing that — it’s the first of its kind capable of spotting planets outside our solar system.

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My Comment: I am now looking forward to see some interesting sights.

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