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New Astro-Camera Will Seek Exo-Planets

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An ultrasensitive camera with super conducting light sensors will be used to hunt for the very faint light of planets in orbit of other stars. The instrument is so sensitive that it can capture light directly from the planets. It need not depend on indirect methods like the tiny wobble of stars, due to orbiting planets, or the relatively rare instances, where a planet moves directing inn front of the star, from our point of view.

The camera has been tested with the 5-meter-wide Palomar telescope, in southern California. Plans for later this year call for it to used on an 8 meter telescope in Hawaii, where the real work of hunting planets can begin. That should give it about a 2 & 1/2 times better ability to spot distant planets, even without considering the superior viewing condition atop a Hawaiian mountain.

When 30-meter-wide telescopes come online, it should be possible to use this camera to obtain atmospheric spectra of exoplanet atmospheres. This information might tell us of life on these worlds, given the right combination of atmospheric elements.

Please find a link, below, to an article with further details:



Edited by bison
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