Lowell: EXPRES Ready to Search for Earth-like Planets

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Lowell: EXPRES Ready to Search for Earth-like Planets

Post by bystander » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:18 pm

New Instrument EXPRES Ready to Search for Earth-like Planets
Lowell Observatory | 2018 Mar 13

Astronomers at Yale University, in collaboration with Lowell Observatory, are embarking on a search that will answer one of the oldest questions in astronomy: Are there planets similar to Earth orbiting other stars?

Lowell Observatory’s Discovery Channel Telescope will gather light from stars and feed it into the Extreme Precision Spectrometer (EXPRES). A spectrometer splits light into different colors, similar to how shining light through a prism produces a rainbow. Astronomers will then analyze the light to search for the signatures of a planet. In this case, a change in the motion of the star along our line of sight –the radial velocity–, would indicate the presence of a planet. ...

Designed and built at Yale University, EXPRES is now operational at the 4.3-m Lowell Observatory Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) in Arizona. Astronomers at Lowell Observatory will benefit from this collaboration, being able to use EXPRES for their own research. ...

With EXPRES now collecting data, astronomers are beginning to search for the first true Earth analog planet. Such a discovery would greatly advance our understanding about life in the Universe.

EXPRES Instrument Ready to Find the Next Earth Analog
Yale University | 2018 Mar 13
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