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European Week of Astronomy and Space Science Meeting News and Video

New techniques for imaging exoplanets

21 Apr 2009, 08:49 UTC
New techniques for imaging exoplanets
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The future looks bright for exoplanet research. In this afternoon's "From brown dwarfs to exoplanets" session we learnt about various new instruments and surveys that are set to boost the exoplanet inventory. The OmegaCAM Transit Survey will start in 2010 using a new VLT Survey Telescope at Paranal Observatory which will be optimised towards detecting and characterising low-mass planets around M-dwarfs and Jupiter-sized planets in open clusters.Instruments are also being developed to directly image extrasolar planets in a single observation, by looking at the contrast between the host star and the planet. The SPHERE instrument (Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet Research) is nearly ready for the VLT and will enable detections of super-jupiters, while a design study for the ExoPlanet Imaging Camera and Spectrograph (EPICS) is underway at Oxford University for use with the E-ELT. Although it would not be ready until 2020 it could offer the ability to image Earth-sized planets.

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