. 24/7 Space News .
How DSCOVR Could Help in Exoplanet Hunting
by Tomasz Nowakowski for AstroWatch http://www.astrowatch.net
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Nov 25, 2015

While the DSCOVR spacecraft cannot be used to directly image extrasolar planets as the sensitivity of the detector for the imager is too low, the researchers have shown that it could be very helpful in the future search for alien worlds.

Could a space weather satellite be helpful in exoplanet hunting? Well, it now turns out it could. According to a team of scientists led by Stephen Kane from the San Francisco State University, the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), launched in February this year to study space weather, could make an important contribution to the continuous search for alien worlds.

DSCOVR, operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), was designed to monitor the solar wind and forecast space weather at Earth. It is equipped in two NASA instruments that are used to observe the Earth in detail: the National Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Radiometer (NISTAR) and the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC). EPIC provides high-resolution spectral images of the Earth, while NISTAR is designed to measure the reflected and emitted energy from the entire sunlit face of our planet.

According to Kane and his colleagues, data obtained by these instruments provide a unique opportunity to help in the search for extrasolar worlds by monitoring the Earth as an exoplanet. They have detailed their findings in a paper published on the arXiv pre-print server.

"It [DSCOVR] can be used to indirectly study exoplanets by allowing us to study how to extract various important planetary parameters," Kane told Astrowatch.net.

By degrading the data acquired by DSCOVR, the scientists hope to learn what information could be retrieved about the planets orbiting other stars. They assume that if it's possible to obtain basic characteristics of Earth, it could be also applied to exoplanet-searching missions. The scientists demonstrated that using degraded low-resolution images from EPIC instrument, they were able to determine Earth's rotation, obliquity, and atmospheric albedo.

"What we are doing is using the data from DSCOVR to learn more about how we can retrieve these parameters for exoplanets by using the Earth as a well-understood planet and degrading the DSCOVR data to what we would expect to acquire from an exoplanet mission. If we can accurately determine the Earth's parameters from these degraded data, then we can also determine the minimum requirements for an exoplanet imaging mission to be successful," Kane said.

The researchers managed to extract periodic behavior due to planetary rotation, weather patterns, and surface terrain from the images provided by EPIC. NISTAR was helpful when it comes to atmospheric albedo as it measures the amount of reflected sunlight and the thermal radiation of Earth in the direction towards the sun.

"Using the combination of the EPIC imager and cavity radiometer to interpret what might be seen by an exoplanet instrument is quite workable. We and other researchers are attempting to use the data in this manner," Jay R. Herman of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, one of the co-authors of the paper, told SpaceFlight Insider.

The importance of properties such as planetary rotation, albedo, and obliquity is significant because they are crucial to determine planetary surface conditions. Therefore, a complete characterization of exoplanets requires the ability to obtain measurements of these key planetary parameters.

While the DSCOVR spacecraft cannot be used to directly image extrasolar planets as the sensitivity of the detector for the imager is too low, the researchers have shown that it could be very helpful in the future search for alien worlds. Their study regarding the DSCOVR data could provide an effective baseline from which to develop tools that can be useful when obtaining various exoplanet imaging data.

DSCOVR is a partnership between NOAA, NASA and the U.S. Air Force. NOAA is operating the mission from its NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland.

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
Deep Space Climate Observatory Satellite
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
Forming planet observed for first time
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Nov 22, 2015
An international team of scientists in Australia and the United States has captured the first-ever images of a planet in the making. The accumulation of dust and gas particles onto a new planet - the process by which the planet continues to form and grow - has been directly observed for the first time. None of the nearly 1,900 planets previously discovered and confirmed outside our Solar S ... read more

Gaia's sensors scan a lunar transit

SwRI scientists explain why moon rocks contain fewer volatiles than Earth's

All-female Russian crew starts Moon mission test

Russian moon mission would need 4 Angara-A5V launches

ExoMars prepares to leave Europe for launch site

ExoMars has historical, practical significance for Russia, Europe

Tracking down the 'missing' carbon from the Martian atmosphere

Mars to lose its largest moon, Phobos, but gain a ring

Aerojet Rocketdyne tapped for spacecraft's crew module propulsion

Brits Aim for the Stars with Big Bucks on Offer to Conquer Final Frontier

XCOR develops Lynx Simulator

Orion ingenuity improves manufacturing while reducing mass

China's scientific satellites to enter uncharted territory

China to launch Dark Matter Satellite in mid-December

China to better integrate satellite applications with Internet

China's satellite expo opens

Russian-US Space Collaboration Intact Despite Chill in Bilateral Ties

ISS EarthKAM ready for student imaging request

Partners in Science: Private Companies Conduct Valuable Research on the Space Station

SAGE III Leaves Langley for Journey to ISS

Vega receives the LISA Pathfinder payload for its December 2 flight

Rocket launch demonstrates new capability for testing technologies

Rocket launch demonstrates new capability for testing technologies

NASA calls on SpaceX to send astronauts to ISS

Retro Exo and Its Originators

How DSCOVR Could Help in Exoplanet Hunting

Neptune-size exoplanet around a red dwarf star

Forming planet observed for first time

SSL selected to provide new high throughput satellite to Telesat

Hardened steels for more efficient engines

Virtual reality app brings crisis zones closer to home

'Shrinking bull's-eye' data algorithm crunches days into hours

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - 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. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.