The Intergalactic Daily Message (D.M. - Die Emmers, get it, its frigging brilliant) Hosted by the Holiday House constituents in Cape Town. Spreading the good news to YOU, whilst creating the illusion that you never left home and we still love you.

Tuesday, December 6

Optical Vortex Could Look Directly At Extrasolar Planets

Keep in the mix at those astronomy conventions...

A new optical device might allow astronomers to view extrasolar planets directly without the annoying glare of the parent star. It would do this by "nulling" out the light of the parent star by exploiting its wave nature, leaving the reflected light from the nearby planet to be observed in space-based detectors. The device, called an optical vortex coronagraph. Reference here.

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These laboratory images demonstrate how the optical vortex coronograph works. They were obtained with a green "star" and red "planet" (point light sources). (a) shows how the green light is "spun out," while the red light remains unaffected. Images of the point sources are shown when large (b) and small (c) apertures are used to limit the transmission of light from (a). (Reported by: Foo et al. in Optics Letters for 1 December 2005)


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