The next generation of telescopes will detect the presence of oceans on distant planets


11/09/2010

The caption for the picture: light reflection or "glint", will detect planets like our Earth. If scientists find water on Earth-like planets, we can assume the existence of life on them.

Scientists hope that the light reflected from the mirror surface of the ocean, or "shine", you can catch a telescope, to be launched in 2014 in the United States.

U.S. astronomers study was published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters. Tyler Robinson of the University of Washington in Seattle, has high hopes for new equipment, hoping to use it to find what has long been the Holy Grail of astronomy - a sister planet Earth.

"We have focused on a class of planets outside our solar system that have not yet been discovered. Their size and structure should be comparable with the Earth, as well as their distance from the central star must be the same with the Earth," - he said.

"Our goal - to find a planet similar to Earth in all possible aspects, until evidence of oceans on its surface." The ocean can be a sign of the planet on which life evolved in the same way as our own planet.

Tyler Robinson hopes "glint" - the effect of light reflection from the surface of the ocean - will help find planets similar to Earth outside our solar system.

Beautiful sunsets

"Shine, of which I speak, is in principle the same as the mesmerizing sunsets over the ocean. When the sun goes down low on the horizon, the sun’s rays are reflected from the surface of the ocean, which acts like a mirror, creating a beautiful red sunsets."

This gloss is best seen when the planet is in the "crescent phase", the type of crescent moon. The caption for the picture: Luster found on Saturn’s moon - Titan is a confirmation of the presence of methane ocean

At the moment, astronomers do not have the necessary technology that would create a photo surface of distant planets. All they can see - it’s brilliant point.

"You’d need a telescope unimaginably huge size to make any measurements. It should be a size equal to the distance from Earth to Mars," - said Robinson.

Scientists have used a similar technique to confirm the presence of the ocean of liquid methane on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn.

Tyler Robinson expressed his hope that the new telescope that will be put into operation in 2014, will help to detect planets shine beyond our solar system. This telescope, which has already managed to name the successor of the Hubble will study the early universe in search of formation of the first galaxies.

The caption for the picture: Oceans, on planets like Earth, created favorable conditions for the emergence of life

But the new telescope will need some help. "By itself, it is not able to do all the necessary measurements. Need to apply an external dimmer," - said Robinson.

"External Dimmer is a separate board that runs in open space, with a view to blocking the light from the star. Lock light allows you to see faint small planets orbiting the star."

In addition to water, another characteristic that can detect the presence of life on the planet - is the vegetation.

Chlorophyll, the green pigment in leaves is very well reflected in the wavelengths close to infrared range. Some scientists propose to apply a new telescope to search for vegetation on remote planets. Just tell us interesting news in detail.


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