The Final Frontier of Planetary Astronomy - Finding Atmosphere
Exciting research published this week in Nature, describes a new technique for studying planets in orbit around stars far away. Previously only catching a planet in transit across the face of it's star would give scientists a peek into the chemical composition of the planet and its atmosphere. Now there is a new technique which does not depend upon the correct alignment for a transit. This new technique uses super cooling on the sensors and reads the light reflected off of the planet itself. This technique, along with more advanced telescopes yet to come, promises to open MANY new worlds of exploration!
"Using a cryogenically-cooled infrared detector on a telescope in Chile, astronomers ferreted out beams of light coming directly from Tau Boötis b, a massive planet about 50 light-years from Earth.