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I First atmospheric spectroscopy of Earth-sized exoplanets

  1. Jul 21, 2016 #1

    mfb

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    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    The Hubble telescope lead to the first spectroscopy of the atmospheres of two Earth-sized exoplanets, TRAPPIST-1b and TRAPPIST-1c. A large hydrogen/helium atmosphere could be ruled out - not that surprising, but still nice to have this confirmed.

    The main star, TRAPPIST-1, is just 40 light years away and significantly smaller and cooler than our sun, and the two planets transit it as seen from Earth. Ideal viewing conditions to study how the sunlight gets absorbed or scattered by the atmosphere.

    Hubble is not sensitive enough to search for gases like ozone, water vapor, or methane, but it can help to find candidates that can be investigated further with the upcoming better telescopes - JWST in space, and E-ELT*, GMT and TMT on the ground.

    *the E-ELT will have as much mirror surface as the 20 largest existing telescopes combined.

    Further details:
    University website
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature18641.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 23, 2016 #2
  4. Jul 24, 2016 #3
  5. Jul 24, 2016 #4

    mfb

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    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    It has been around as idea for a while, but I don't think there is any sunshade mission that got significant funding.
     
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