Friday, 15 March 2013

Distant Planetary System Is Super-Sized Solar System

Mar. 14, 2013 — A team of astronomers, including Quinn Konopacky of the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Toronto, has made the most detailed examination yet of the atmosphere of a Jupiter-like planet beyond our Solar System.


Artist’s rendering of the planetary system HR 8799 at an early stage in its evolution, showing the planet HR 8799c, as well as a disk of gas and dust, and interior planets. (Credit: Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics; Mediafarm)
According to Konopacky, "We have been able to observe this planet in unprecedented detail because of the advanced instrumentation we are using on the Keck II telescope, our ground-breaking observing and data-processing techniques, and because of the nature of the planetary system."
Konopacky is lead author of the paper describing the team's findings, to be published March 14th in Science Express, and March 22nd in the journal Science.

The team, using a high-resolution imaging spectrograph called OSIRIS, uncovered the chemical fingerprints of specific molecules, revealing a cloudy atmosphere containing carbon monoxide and water vapour. "With this level of detail," says Travis Barman, a Lowell Observatory astronomer and co-author of the paper, "we can compare the amount of carbon to the amount of oxygen present in the planet's atmosphere, and this chemical mix provides clues as to how the entire planetary system formed."

More - Link >>> http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314144211.htm

Sources: University of Toronto, ScienceDaily.com .

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