Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lift off for Eddington Mission to look inside the stars and search for planets like Earth

28.05.2002


"It is not too much to hope that in the not too distant future we shall be competent to understand so simple a thing as a star" (Arthur Eddington 1926)



Following a press conference this morning (Monday 27 May 2002) in Paris, the European Space Agency confirmed the establishment of the Eddington Mission as part of its new Science programme. Astronomers, led by Professor Ian Roxburgh of Queen Mary, University of London, proposed the mission in 2000, and the Eddington Satellite is to be launched in 2007/8.

Named after the British astronomer, Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, who laid the foundations for our understanding of how stars work, the Eddington Mission aims to answer the question Eddington asked himself in 1926:


"What appliance can pierce through the outer layers of a star and test the conditions within." (AS Eddington, Internal Constitution of the Stars, 1926). Almost eighty years later, we have the answer.

The Eddington satellite (consisting of four telescopes) will gaze at different regions of the sky for intervals of about two months each, observing over 200,000 stars, measuring changes in light of one part of one million, and thus allowing astronomers to work out what stars are like inside (asteroseismology). Asteroseismology is the appliance Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington sought. This will enable astronomers to understand how stars work and to use this knowledge to measure the age of stars and components of our galaxy, and to understand how elements were formed.

The Mission will then search for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars, pointing continuously at one region of the sky for three years, measuring light from over 100,000 stars and detecting the tiny decrease in light as a planet passes in front of the star. In addition the Eddington Mission will discover many larger planets and give astronomers the information to understand how the solar system was found.

Professor Ian Roxburgh, Science Co-ordinator of the Mission, said:

"The approval of the Eddington Mission is great news. I am very, very happy! I first started working on such a mission in 1982, and this is the culmination of a lot of work by a lot of scientists. At last we will be able to find planets like the Earth around other stars and to understand how stars work and how they change as they get older. Discovering the existence of planets like the Earth, with properties similar to those on Earth, is a first step towards searching for signs of life elsewhere in the Universe."

Over fifty research groups around Europe are involved in the Eddington Mission, including eight from the UK. Ian Roxburgh, Keith Horne (University of St Andrews) and Gerry Gilmore (University of Cambridge) are part of the Eddington Science Team that has been developing the Mission. It is under the overall direction of the European Space Agency Study Scientist Fabio Favata.

Kate Hunter | alphagalileo
Further information:
http://www.qmul.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Computer model predicts how fracturing metallic glass releases energy at the atomic level
20.07.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht What happens when we heat the atomic lattice of a magnet all of a sudden?
18.07.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin

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: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>