Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Tech Finds Undiscovered Extra-Solar Planets

From Science Daily I read that scientist /astronomers have developed new equipment and methods of detecting exo-planets that heretofore were hidden by the glare of the parent star.

From the article:
  • Using new optics technology developed at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory, astronomers has obtained images of a planet on a much closer orbit around its parent star than any other extrasolar planet previously found.
Installed on a telescope, atop Paranal Mountain in Chile, the new technology enables astronomers to confirm the existence of a planet about seven to 10 times the mass of Jupiter, around its parent star, Beta Pictoris, 63 light years away. The system cosists of a small, patterned piece of glass. The device blocks out the starlight in a very defined way, allowing planets to show up that were previously drowned out by the star's glare.

Up to this point most extra-solar planets were discovered by the slight gravitational wobble a planet induces in its parent star, very few of them have been directly observed. This new device will not only confirm the existence of suspected planets but also uncover many more and ones much closer to their sun.

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