Astronomy Light from alien planets confirmed

Discussion in 'Astronomy' started by mscbkc070904, Mar 24, 2005.

  1. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    This artist's impression of planet HD 209458b shows plumes of hot gas billowing from its surface as it skims just 4 million miles from its star.

    © ESA, Alfred Vidal-Madjar (Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, CNRS, France) and NASA

    Light from planets outside our Solar System has been genuinely detected for the first time. The breakthrough marks the end of a long race between astronomers to image an alien world directly, without recourse to theoretical detective work.

    Although more than 130 extrasolar planets, or exoplanets, have been discovered, almost all were found by detecting the way they make their parent stars wobble as they orbit. Visual identification is difficult because light from the star swamps the relatively dim glow of a planet.

    So astronomers have been looking for infrared light from these planets, because their emissions in this area of the spectrum tend to be much brighter than any visible shine they have. The infrared light can reveal details of the planet's temperature and chemistry, but conclusive evidence has proved elusive.

    Now two research groups say they have definitely spotted infrared light from two different exoplanets using NASA's orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope. In both cases, the planet's orbit seems to take it across the face of its star before disappearing behind it. With each transit and eclipse, the total amount of infrared light coming from the region rises and falls. By subtracting the constant starlight, the astronomers are left with a measure of the light from the planet itself.

    Rest of Story and Image
  2. Icewolf

    Icewolf Premium Member

    I just fuond this post, i'm surprised no one has replied to it yet. Has anyone found any more recent info from this story?

    - Ice -
  3. Young William

    Young William Premium Member

    Yeah so am I, this is quite intriuging. Are radio waves the wrong avenue? Let's see the speed of sound vs. lightspeed, over............time? Oh wait, we created that,.......didn't we?
  4. Gravare

    Gravare Premium Member

    that is so awesome. really exciting news. great post, mscbkc070904