Wednesday, August 29, 2018
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Monday, August 27, 2018
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Monday, August 20, 2018
The Usual Suspects
Astronomers are taking a cue these days from the playbook of police detectives: fingerprints.
Researchers at Cornell University recently prepared a reference catalog of “light-fingerprints” that astronomers who study exoplanets can use, Cornell University reported.
The guide, published online in the journal Astrobiology, includes calibrated spectra and geometric albedos – or the light reflected by the planet’s surface – of 19 celestial bodies in our own solar system. It also offers examples of how the colors of these planets, moons and other objects would change if they were orbiting stars other than our sun.
Astronomers can use these “fingerprints” to characterize planets outside the solar system.
“With this catalog of light-fingerprints, we will be able to compare new observations of exoplanets to objects in our own solar system – including the gaseous worlds of Jupiter and Saturn, the icy worlds of Europa, the volcanic world of Io, and our own life-filled planet,” said Lisa Kaltenegger, a co-author of the study and director of the Carl Sagan Institute.
Study lead author Jack Madden believes the catalog will prove extremely useful as the construction of more powerful telescopes facilitates the discovery of new worlds.
“We are entering a new age of observational ability, so we need a reference catalog of all the planets and moons we already know, to compare these new exoplanet spectra to,” he said.
Sunday, August 19, 2018
Friday, August 17, 2018