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Scientists observe reflected light from extrasolar planet

Posted on Sunday, December 30 2007 @ 22:01:26 CET by

Fir the first time scientists have observed reflected light from an extra-solar planet:
Hot on the heels of a recent DailyTech blog post concerning finding habitable exoplanets, a group of astronomers comprised of professor Svetlana Berdyugina of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich and Andrei Berdyugin and Vilppu Piirola of the Tuorla Observatory at the University of Turku in Finland observed light reflected from the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a star approximately 60 light years from Earth.

The star and planet under scrutiny are known as HD189733 and HD189733b, respectively. The exoplanet was discovered in 2005 by Doppler spectroscopy. Astronomers were to infer the duration of orbital cycles and the probable size of a planet via Doppler spectroscopy, but hard data like orbital orientation and physical composition are much more difficult. Previous findings likened the planet to a hot Jupiter, orbiting very close to its star.
More info at DailyTech.



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