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Looking at the Sun may help detecting Earth-like planets around distant stars

15.12.2015 15:28

Discovery News featured the recent findings of Branco Weiss fellow Xavier Dumusque in an article on their website. The article titled “To find Alien Worlds, First Look at Our Sun” talks about Dumusque’s team’s effort to get rid of disturbing factors when searching for exoplanets. For example sunspots on a stars surface can lead to false positives, especially when looking for planets similar to Earth in size using the now common “radial velocity” technique.

To get around this problem, Xavier Dumusque and his team built a solar telescope to feed the light of the Sun into the HARPS-N spectrograph, the state of the art instrument to detect exoplanets with the “radial velocity” technique. With this instrument the scientists will try to detect Venus orbiting the Sun as a proof of concept for finding Earth-size or smaller planets around other stars. Promising results were already obtained by a test run over seven days.

In November, the magazine Astrophysical Journal Letters has published a paper by Dumusque and others about these findings.

Read the news on Discovery News

Read the paper on Astrophysical Journal Letters