Skip to comments.Light Spotted From Beyond Solar System
Posted on 03/22/2005 6:20:30 PM PST by KevinDavis
A NASA (news - web sites) telescope peering far beyond our solar system has for the first time directly measured light from two Jupiter-sized gas planets closely orbiting distant stars, adding crucial features to astronomy's portrait of faraway worlds.
Studies of the infrared light streaming from the two giant planets suggest they are made of hot, swirling gases that reach a broiling 1,340 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
"It's an awesome experience to realize we are seeing the glow of distant worlds," said astronomer David Charbonneau of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., whose team captured light from a planet in the constellation Lyra. "The one thing they can't hide is their heat."
Since the mid-1990s, scientists have discovered more than 130 of these so-called extrasolar planets. But the stars they orbit are so distant and shine so brightly that they tend to overwhelm the planets from view.
To find them, astronomers indirectly measure the tiny gravitational wobble that orbiting planets exert on their suns, or the brief dimming of starlight that occurs when a planet's orbit carries it in front of the star.
But hot celestial objects like these gas planets also emit infrared light. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detectors to collect these infrared signals. Infrared light contains specific signatures in different wave lengths that reveal more scientific characteristics about a space object than visible light.
One planet is known as HD 209458b, nicknamed Osiris. It orbits a sun-like star 150 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Pegasus. Its infrared signature was measured by astronomers at the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Details will appear Wednesday in the online version of the journal Nature.
The other extrasolar planet measured by the Harvard-Smithsonian team is known as TRes-1. It is located 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. Results will be published in the June 20 issue of Astrophysical Journal.
Both planets circle their stars in less than four days at a distance of less than 4 million miles, explaining their very high temperatures.
In contrast, Earth orbits an average of 93 million miles from the sun.
I spot light from beyond the solar system on every clear night.
He then added "Oh, and by the way, I have zero confidence in Larry Summers, and he's so dumb he can't even fathom the merit of this finding"
At the rate our imaging technologies are improving I predict that we'll be seeing so relatively good images of these distant planets in a decade or two.
Hubble's replacement is an infrared scope isn't it? The new look will be very interesting.
I think so.. As I said before, this discovery was not made by the Hubble.
That's what I mean. The infrared view will be infinitely better from space, and if they can see big, hot planets already then we will no doubt see an incredible view with Webb.
I forgot to turn it off, again. Sorry.
I wonder why there was all of this hub bub over the Hubble... The Hubble did a good job..
Yeah right. Light seen from beyond our galaxy. Are we supposed to believe this?
If the general mob would be so interested in manned space exploration, Apollo would not have been allowed to be defunded. I think we have learned in the Schiavo business this week that the general mob doesn't know much, and is wrong about a lot of what it does know.
I think it was mostly an excuse to bash Bush imho..
Could well be.
You are correct.
"Replacing Hubble. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is being built to replace Hubble. JWST is a large, infrared space telescope satellite designed to provide even clearer pictures of our Universe than those received from Hubble.
Formerly known as the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST), the new telescope was named for the space agency's second administrator.
The Webb Space Telescope will be aboard a satellite to be launched after 2010 to an orbit 940,000 miles out in space at the second Lagrange Point, or L2. There, the spacecraft will be balanced between the gravity of the Sun and the gravity of Earth, so a Sun shield on only one side of the satellite will be sufficient to protect the telescope from the light and heat of Sun and Earth.
While the Webb may be seen as replacing the Hubble, it will observe a somewhat different region of the electromagnetic spectrum from the far visible to the mid-infrared. The wavelength coverage differs from that of the Hubble, which sees a range from the ultraviolet to the near-infrared. The Webb will carry a near-infrared camera, a multi-object spectrometer, and a mid-infrared spectrometer camera.
The James Webb Space Telescope is being built by Northrop Grumman Space Technology."
It should be an amazing instrument. If the Hubble has been fantastic, the Webb will be fantastic squared.
Nacy Reid and Harry Pelosi were quick to point out that this degree of global warnming was a direct result of W's refusal to sign the Kyoto Accord.
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