High-contrast Imaging: Project 1640

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High-contrast Imaging: Project 1640

Post by Galzi on 16th July 2012, 5:18 am

Direct Imaging at the Palomar Observatory: Project 1640

A three-year survey of hot young stars within 200 light years from Earth - Jupiter sized planets should be detectable.

http://www.amnh.org/science/papers/starlight.php

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Re: High-contrast Imaging: Project 1640

Post by Galzi on 12th March 2013, 10:50 am

First success of Project 1640 achieved on HR 8799 system:

http://spaceref.com/exoplanets/project-1640-sees-exoplanets-128-light-years-away.html

With this system, the researchers are the first to determine the spectra of all four planets surrounding HR 8799. "It's fantastic to nab the spectra of four planets in a single observation," said co-author Gautam Vasisht, an astronomer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The results are "quite strange," Oppenheimer said. "These warm, red planets are unlike any other known object in our universe. All four planets have different spectra, and all four are peculiar. The theorists have a lot of work to do now."

One of the most striking abnormalities is an apparent chemical imbalance. Basic chemistry predicts that ammonia and methane should naturally coexist in varying quantities unless they are in extremely cold or hot environments. Yet the spectra of the HR 8799 planets, all of which have "lukewarm" temperatures of about 1000 Kelvin (1340 degrees Fahrenheit), either have methane or ammonia, with little or no signs of their chemical partners. Other chemicals such as acetylene, previously undiscovered on any exoplanet, and carbon dioxide may be present as well.

The planets also are "redder," meaning that they emit longer wavelengths of light, than celestial objects with similar temperatures. This could be explained by significant but patchy cloud cover on the planets, the authors say.

Researchers are already collecting more data on this system to look for changes in the planets over time, as well as surveying other young stars. During its three-year survey at Palomar, which started in June 2012, Project 1640 aims to survey 200 stars within about 150 light years of our solar system.

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