First detected the direct signal from a planet in another solar system

16-01-2017 jj970429
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Which was the first exoplanet to be discovered around a star similar to our sun it is the star of this milestone in the world of astrophysics. His name is 51 Pegasi by is a gaseous planet located 51 light years from Earth in the constellation Pegasus.

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Thanks to the 3.6-meter telescope of the European Southern Observatory which is located in the La Silla Observatory which has the instrument called Harps, designed to search for extrasolar planets, this discovery was possible. It is the first time a telescope, also of medium size, is capable of directly detecting the light from a planet in another solar system. He had never managed to capture a direct signal from another planet so far. This method, based on the Doppler effect has revealed the size, orbit and atmosphere of 51 Pegasi b, which will in the future promote the study of other exoplanets.

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Thus, new observations show that this exoplanet has half the mass of Jupiter but larger than this and from Earth orbit-seen at an angle of nine degrees.

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"This kind of technique is very important because it allows measuring the mass and the actual inclination of the orbit of the planet. It also allows us to estimate the reflectance, which can be used to infer the composition of both the surface and the atmosphere of a planet, "says Jorge Martins, who led the study.

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The study, which was published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, is expected to be the first of many to come work using this technique but with even larger telescopes. The Very Large Telescope of 8.2 meters and also located in Chile, will be the next to make similar observations. "And with the E-ELT, the European Extremely Large Telescope, we hope to be able to characterize an extrasolar planet like Earth," says Martins. By this time, we have to wait to 2024, and for the moment, this terrestrial telescope with a diameter of 39 meters, is in full construction phase.