Telescopes Help Study Atmospheres of Far-Off Worlds
Gone are the days of being able to count the number of known planets on your fingers. Today, there are more than 800 confirmed exoplanets – planets that orbit stars beyond our sun – and more than 2,700 other candidates. What are these exotic planets made of? Unfortunately, you cannot stack them in a jar like marbles and take a closer look. Instead, researchers are coming up with advanced techniques for probing the planets’ makeup.
One breakthrough to come in recent years is direct imaging of exoplanets. Ground-based telescopes have begun taking infrared pictures of the planets posing near their stars in family portraits. But to astronomers, a picture is worth even more than a thousand words if its light can be broken apart into a rainbow of different wavelengths.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/videos/2013/05/telescopes-help-study-atmospheres-far-worlds
I found this gem on my dashboard. This is in part the work of the space telescope high contrast group (the group I work in). AMNH always makes such nice movies!