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Teaser 1444136829

Probing exoplanet chemistry without the need for space telescopes

February 04, 2010
A group of astronomers, which includes researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, has successfully tested a new method for probing the chemical composition of the atmospheres of planets that orbit distant stars. The technique can be used by comparatively small telescopes on the ground, making exoplanet chemistry more widely accessible than ever before. First observations have yielded a fundamentally new result about exoplanet atmospheres. The results have been reported in the February 4, 2010 issue of the journal Nature. [more]
Teaser 1444136831

First Direct “Chemical Fingerprint” of an Exoplanet orbiting a Sun-Like Star

January 13, 2010
Astronomers have obtained the first direct spectrum – a “chemical fingerprint” – of a planet orbiting a distant, Sun-like star, providing direct data about the composition of the planet's atmosphere. Such “chemical fingerprinting” is a key technique in the search for habitable planets around other stars. As such, the result represents a milestone in the search for life elsewhere in the Universe. More directly, results like this are expected to provide new insight into how planets form. [more]
Teaser 1444990982

First image of cool extrasolar planet candidate around Sun-like star

December 03, 2009
First observations with the world's newest planet-hunter instrument, HiCIAO, have revealed a faint companion to the star GJ 758, resulting in what could be the first image of a cool extrasolar planet orbiting a Sun-like star. With an estimated mass of 10 – 40 times Jupiter's mass, GJ 758 b is either a giant planet or a lightweight brown dwarf. Its orbit is somewhat larger than Neptune's, and its temperature of 600 K makes it the coldest companion to a Sun-like star ever resolved in an image. [more]
Teaser 1444990995

Galaxy formation: Andromeda caught in the act

September 02, 2009
A new survey provides the most comprehensive and detailed picture yet of galaxy formation in action. It shows the remains of smaller galaxies that have been ingested by the Andromeda galaxy, one of our closest cosmic neighbours. [more]
Teaser image horizontal 1293750345

Taking a peek into the hidden universe

May 08, 2009
Instruments developed at Max Planck Institutes at work on Herschel, the largest space telescope ever built [more]
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