Small telescope may speed star search

Jan 12, 2006

Astronomers have discovered a planet orbiting a very young star nearly 100 light years away using a relatively small, publicly accessible telescope.

The feat suggests astronomers have found a way to accelerate dramatically the pace of the hunt for planets outside our solar system, researchers said.

The astronomers used the Exoplanet Tracker on the special 0.9-meter Coude feed system within the National Science Foundation's 2.1-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Ariz.

The new planet is the most distant ever found using the Doppler technique with a telescope mirror less than 1 meter in size. There are hundreds of such telescopes worldwide, compared with just a handful of the larger telescopes more commonly used in planet finding, researchers said.

"These smaller telescopes are relatively cheap and relatively available," University of Florida astronomer Jian Ge said, "so you can often get access to many dozens of nights on them if you have a promising proposal."

Ge and colleagues from the University of Florida, Tennessee State University, the Institute of Astrophysics in Spain's Canary Islands, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Texas presented their findings Wednesday at the American Astronomical Society's annual meeting in Washington.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: NASA's IceCube no longer on ice

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA Mars spacecraft prepare for close comet flyby

Jul 26, 2014

NASA is taking steps to protect its Mars orbiters, while preserving opportunities to gather valuable scientific data, as Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring heads toward a close flyby of Mars on Oct. 19.

Surrey NanoSystems has "super black" material

Jul 15, 2014

(Phys.org) —A British company says it has scored a breakthrough in the world's darkest material. Surrey NanoSystems describes its development as not just a black material but super-black. They are calling ...

Recommended for you

Fermi satellite detects gamma-rays from exploding novae

9 hours ago

The Universe is home to a variety of exotic objects and beautiful phenomena, some of which can generate almost inconceivable amounts of energy. ASU Regents' Professor Sumner Starrfield is part of a team that ...

Exploring Mars in low Earth orbit

14 hours ago

In their quest to understand life's potential beyond Earth, astrobiologists study how organisms might survive in numerous environments, from the surface of Mars to the ice-covered oceans of Jupiter's moon, ...

Image: Hubble serves a slice of stars

16 hours ago

The thin, glowing streak slicing across this image cuts a lonely figure, with only a few foreground stars and galaxies in the distant background for company.

User comments : 0