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Small Ground-Based 1.5 Meter Telescope Images Three Exoplanets
Posted by Guy Pirro on 4/18/2010 4:08 PM
Astronomers have snapped a picture of three planets orbiting a star beyond our own using a modest-sized 1.5 meter telescope on the ground. The surprising feat was accomplished by a team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, using a small portion of the Palomar Observatory's Hale Telescope. The astronomy team took painstaking efforts to push current technology to the point where such a small mirror could be used. They combined two techniques -- adaptive optics and a coronagraph -- to minimize the glare from the star and reveal the dim glow of the much fainter planets.
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