Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The (Super)Wasp Factory Finds 10 New Planets In The Last 6 Months

01.04.2008
In the last 6 months an international team of astronomers have used two batteries of cameras, one in the Canary Islands and one in South Africa, to discover 10 new planets in orbit around other stars (commonly known as extrasolar planets).

The results from the Wide Area Search for Planets (SuperWASP) will be announced by team member Dr Don Pollacco of Queen’s University Belfast, in his talk at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2008) on Tuesday 1 April.

Scientists have found more than 270 extrasolar planets since the first one was discovered in the early 1990s. Most of these are detected through their gravitational influence on the star they orbit – as it moves the planet pulls on the star, tugging it back and forth. However, making these discoveries depends on looking at each star over a period of weeks or months and so the pace of discovery is fairly slow.

SuperWASP uses a different method. The two sets of cameras watch for events known as transits, where a planet passes directly in front of a star and blocks out some of the star’s light, so from the Earth the star temporarily appears a little fainter. The SuperWASP cameras work as robots, surveying a large area of the sky at once and each night astronomers have data from millions of stars that they can check for transits and hence planets. The transit method also allows scientists to deduce the size and mass of each planet.

Each possible planet found using SuperWASP is then observed by astronomers working at the Nordic Optical Telescope on La Palma, the Swiss Euler Telescope in Chile and the Observatoire de Haute Provence in southern France, who use precision instruments to confirm or reject the discovery.

45 planets have now been discovered using the transit method, and since they started operation in 2004 the SuperWASP cameras have found 15 of them – making them by far the most successful discovery instruments in the world. The SuperWASP planets have masses between a middleweight 0.5 and a huge 8.3 times that of Jupiter, the largest planet in our Solar System. A number of these new worlds are quite exotic. For example, a year on WASP-12B (its orbital period) is just 1.1 days. The planet is so close to its star that its daytime temperature could reach a searing 2300 degrees Celsius.

Dr Pollacco is delighted with the results. “SuperWASP is now a planet-finding production line and will revolutionise the detection of large planets and our understanding of how they were formed. It’s a great triumph for European astronomers.”

FURTHER INFORMATION (INCLUDING IMAGES):

SuperWASP
Project website
http://www.superwasp.org
Images of the SuperWASP Cameras
1)http://star.pst.qub.ac.uk/~dlp/SWASP_1.jpg - a close up of the 8 SuperWASP-North cameras.
2)http://star.pst.qub.ac.uk/~dlp/SWASP_2.jpg - an aerial view of the SuperWASP-North cameras (courtesy of Damon Hart-Davis, http://d.hd.org/).

3)http://star.pst.qub.ac.uk/~dlp/SWASP_3.jpg - the SuperWASP-South instrument.

Image of the Euler (Swiss) Telescope dome
http://www.cosmograil.org/images/euler-dome.jpg
Image of the SOPHIE spectrograph at the Observatoire de Haute Provence
http://www.obs-hp.fr/www/guide/sophie/sophie.html
RAS National Astronomy Meeting
http://nam2008.qub.ac.uk
RAS home page
http://www.ras.org.uk

Robert Massey | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ras.org.uk
http://nam2008.qub.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'
26.05.2017 | University of Leicester

nachricht Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect
24.05.2017 | Vienna University of Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>