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 Post subject: Other solar systems
PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2003 1:22 am 
Vega's got one! Too bad it'll only last about a billion years before Vega dies. However, Fomalhaut also has planets.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 6:04 pm 
Isn't it true that current technology only allows planets that are similar in size to Jupiter or larger to be detected?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 9:32 pm 
more or less.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2003 2:27 am 
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Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 12:18 am
Posts: 1134
Location: Idaho
The way to find smaller planets around other stars is to orbit several telescopes and synchronize them into an array, forming what's called a "synthetic apereture".

This had been done for many years on earth with radio telescopes and some with optical telescopes. But to spot small, rocky planets the telescopes have to be in space, either in orbit or on the back side of the moon. Can't put a scope on the near side of the moon because it'd always be in sunlight or reflected earthlight. Even on the far side it would be useless for at least half the time. In orbit the scope can always be pointed away from the sun and the earth so there's always something that can be observed.


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