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Posts Tagged "harps"

Life, Unbounded

A Star With Nine Planets, Maybe More?

Planet, planet, planet.... (Image credit: ESA)

Exactly how many planets orbit any given star is still a major unknown in exoplanetary science. The two primary techniques for detecting planets and quantifying their characteristics have significant limitations that blinker us to the full contents of other solar systems. Radial velocity measurements pick up the tell-tale motion of a star around a system’s [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Habitable Planets

Habitable Exoplanet

In 1964 Stephen Dole published a hundred and seventy-four page document for a US Air Force project at the RAND corporation in Santa Monica, California. With not a little hubris it was titled “Habitable Planets for Man“, an extraordinarily detailed and prescient scientific study of the nature of worlds that might support life in the [...]

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Observations

Exoplanet Hunters Get a Technology Boost in Search for Earth-like Planets

laser frequency comb for detecting exoplanets

The European Southern Observatory already has one of the world’s best planet-hunting tools in the HARPS spectrograph. Installed at the 3.6-meter La Silla telescope in Chile, HARPS is an instrument that can detect the extremely subtle wobbles in a star’s motion that may be induced by the gravitational pull of an orbiting planet. But the [...]

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Observations

A Plethora of Planets: Number of Known Exoplanets Soaring

Graph of known exoplanets by year

“We are really in the age of discovery of new worlds.” That was Lisa Kaltenegger of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, and the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, during a September 12 press conference in which European researchers announced the discovery of about 50 planets new to science. There are now 685 [...]

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