Thursday, November 13, 2008

First Direct Image of Multiple Exoplanets Orbiting a Star

This is another great development in science and technology:

For the first time, astronomers have taken a visual image of a
multiple-planet solar system beyond our own.

Using the Gemini North telescope and the W. M. Keck Observatory on Hawaii's Mauna Kea, researchers observed in infrared light three planets orbiting around a star about 130 light-years away from Earth, called HR 8799. The discovery,published today in Science Express, is a step forward in the hunt for planets, and life, beyond Earth.
The next logical step will be to look at the light spectrum coming off the planets, which well tell astronomers what type of gases are in the atmosphere.

If there is an abundance of oxygen, that is pretty strong indicator of organic life. That is something I would very much like to see.

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