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Space Technology

Looking Directly at Extrasolar Planets 92

D2Deek writes "Science Daily is reporting on a new device called an Optical Vortex Coronagraph that's been invented to directly image planets orbiting other stars by using a special lens that "spins out" the light from the star leaving only the reflected light from the planet." I just can't imagine trying to clean a lens shaped like a giant corkscrew.
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Looking Directly at Extrasolar Planets

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  • Strip coating (Score:5, Interesting)

    by asadodetira ( 664509 ) on Monday December 05, 2005 @05:40PM (#14188553) Homepage
    The submitter mentioned cleaning lenses and other optical equipment. I want to comment that that's a very tricky thing. Most optical manuals just say: Do not attempt to clean!! Some recent developments are in the area of strip coatings (you pour a polymer over the surface and peel it off to remove dirt without damaging the optics). This has been tried since the early XX century but only recently has became practical. Here's a link to a group that developed a sucessful formula for that process: []
  • by 4D6963 ( 933028 ) on Monday December 05, 2005 @05:44PM (#14188590)
    I wonder if it could be used to replace coronography, as for example letting you see only the solar emissions (winds and all that) without the disc of the sun, and this with no occultation, or even helping view the deviation of light nearby a star (in case this can be of any use) without having the annoying light of the star in between.

    I wonder if it could be applied to observing galaxies too... I mean, I'd be curious to know what other uses could be found to this technique

  • Re:Foo et al. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Miffe ( 592354 ) on Monday December 05, 2005 @06:12PM (#14188852)
    At Stockholm university there allready is a Foo Bar []
  • Extra-solar planets? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by skelly33 ( 891182 ) on Monday December 05, 2005 @07:32PM (#14189527)
    Frankly, I'm more interested in a comprehensive set of photos of our own solar system's planets, such as Pluto and the various "Planet X" candidates that pop on and off the public debate radar from over the years. At least we have the technology to actually visit these places today were we so inclined.

    I'm not saying it's unimportant to continue with research like this, only that I wish more effort were put into slightly less glamorous subjects like Pluto that could actually do us some tangible good one day...
  • by Herve5 ( 879674 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @04:10AM (#14191897)
    For information, the European Space agency has a project named Darwin that intends to cancel the light of a star by destructive interferometry, leaving the neigboring planet alone: from its specifications, I retain that in order to "see" the planet, you must damp the star from a factor 10^9 in visible light (10^6 in IR). Basically this is how the Earth looks like close to the sun: 10^9 times less brilliant.

    Compared to this, the damping factor announced in the original paper (between 100 and 1000), would look, well, definitely unsufficient if it weren't for just a demo today...

    I hope I wasn't too naughty, I didn't talk about the angular resolution needed.


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