Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















EXO WORLDS
Gemini Observatory Instrumental in Latest Exoplanet Harvest
by Staff Writers
Hilo HI (SPX) Jul 19, 2016


illustration only

The Gemini North telescope on Hawaii's Maunakea helped verify many of the over 100 new worlds announced in the initial crop of discoveries from the NASA K2 mission, according to Ian Crossfield of the University of Arizona. Crossfield led the international team of scientists who announced the findings, which are published online in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series.

"Gemini North was instrumental because it delivered extremely high-resolution images of over 70 of the almost 200 potential planetary systems that K2 uncovered," says Crossfield.

"In total we used three instruments, or cameras, on Gemini to complete our studies - so you could say that Gemini was instrumental in that way too!"

Once K2's data are analyzed to identify potential exoplanet candidates, many of the world's most powerful telescopes, like Gemini, are set into motion. This is so astronomers can rule out other explanations that can produce the signature of a planet orbiting a star. "This is where the discovery happens," says astronomer Christopher Davis of the US National Science Foundation, which funds over 70% of Gemini.

"Once other possibilities are eliminated, like nearby background stars, the team can say with extreme certainty that we have a new exoplanet system."

One of the instruments used at Gemini is a visiting instrument called the Differential Speckle Survey Instrument (DSSI) which is led by Steve Howell of NASA's Ames Research Center.

"These observations are a critical part of the exoplanet validation process," says Howell. "It's essentially the only way to validate small, Earth-sized planets orbiting around other stars."

Howell's DSSI instrument uses many extremely short (typically about 60 millisecond) exposures of a star to capture fine detail by combining the images and subtracting momentary distortions caused by the Earth's atmosphere.

With this technique astronomers can see details at, or very near, the theoretical limit of the 8-meter Gemini mirror which is like being able to resolve two automobile headlights at a distance of about 2,000 miles.

In its initial mission, Kepler surveyed just one patch of sky in the northern hemisphere, measuring the frequency with which planets whose size and temperature are similar to Earth occur around stars like our Sun. But when the satellite lost its ability to precisely stare at its original target area in 2013, a brilliant fix created a second life for the telescope that is proving remarkably fruitful.

The new K2 mission provides fields of view within the ecliptic which presents greater opportunities for Earth-based observatories in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Additionally, the new mission opened up the observations to the entire scientific community, not just specific targets picked by science team members.

K2 now looks at new types of populations, including a larger fraction of cooler, smaller, red dwarf-type stars, which are much more common in our Milky Way than Sun-like stars. The space observatory discovers new planets by measuring the subtle dip in a star's brightness caused by a planet passing in front of its star.

The Gemini follow-up observations were made as part of what is called a Large and Long program intended to provide access to Gemini for studies requiring more observing time, or extended periods of observations to yield high-impact results.

In addition to observations with DSSI, Gemini's Near-InfraRed Imager (NIRI) with the Altair adaptive optics system, and the Gemini Near-InfraRed Spectrograph (GNIRS) were used to make the verification observations.

In addition to Gemini, follow-up ground-based observations were made by W. M. Keck Observatory also on Maunakea in Hawaii, the Automated Planet Finder of the University of California Observatories, and the Large Binocular Telescope operated by the University of Arizona.

"197 Candidates and 104 Validated Planets in K2's First Five Fields," Ian J. M. Crossfield et al., 2016, to appear in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Gemini Observatory
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
EXO WORLDS
Warm Jupiters Not as Lonely as Expected
Toronto, Canada (SPX) Jul 17, 2016
After analyzing four years of Kepler space telescope observations, astronomers from the University of Toronto have given us our clearest understanding yet of a class of exoplanets called "warm Jupiters," showing that many have unexpected planetary companions. The team's analysis, published July 10th in the Astrophysical Journal, provides strong evidence of the existence of two distinct typ ... read more


EXO WORLDS
NASA camera catches moon 'photobombing' Earth

Russia to spend $60M in 2016-2018 to fund space voyages to Moon, Mars

Russian Moon Base to Hold Up to 12 People

US may approve private venture moon mission: report

EXO WORLDS
Frosty Cold Nights Year-Round on Mars May Stir Dust

Next Mars Rover Progresses Toward 2020 Launch

Mars Canyons Study Adds Clues about Possible Water

Curiosity Mars Rover Enters Precautionary Safe Mode

EXO WORLDS
Sensor Technology Could Revolutionize What You Sleep On

Mathematical framework prioritizes key patterns to accelerate scientific discovery

Return to light for underground astronauts

A decade of plant biology in space

EXO WORLDS
China's second space lab Tiangong-2 reaches launch center

Dutch Radio Antenna to Depart for Moon on Chinese Mission

Chinese Space Garbageman is not a Weapon

China to launch its largest carrier rocket later this year

EXO WORLDS
Russian New Soyuz-MS Spacecraft Docks With ISS for First Time

NASA Highlights Space Station Research Benefits, Opportunities at San Diego Conference

Russia launches ISS-bound cargo ship

New Crew Members, Including NASA Biologist, Launch to Space Station

EXO WORLDS
Ukraine, US Plan to Launch Jointly-Developed Space Rocket in Coming Months

SpaceX to launch key 'parking spot' to space station

Russia to Continue Rocket Engine Supplies to US Under Existing Contracts

India launches 20 satellites in single mission

EXO WORLDS
Behind the scenes of protostellar disk formation

Surface Composition Determines Planet's Temperature and Habitability

Warm Jupiters Not as Lonely as Expected

Lush Venus? Searing Earth? It could have happened

EXO WORLDS
Exposed to space and back on Earth

Setting a satellite to catch a satellite

New record in microwave detection

Setting the gold standard




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement