For the first time a clever new technique has allowed astronomers to study the atmosphere of an exoplanet in detail — even though it does not pass in front of its parent star. An international team has used ESO’s Very Large Telescope to directly catch the faint glow from the planet Tau Boötis b. They have studied the planet’s atmosphere and measured its orbit and mass precisely for the first time — in the process solving a 15-year old problem. Surprisingly, the team also finds that the planet’s atmosphere seems to be cooler higher up, the opposite of what was expected. The results will be published in the 28 June 2012 issue of the journal Nature.
The release, images and videos are available on:
Translations are available in: Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese/Brazil, Portuguese/Portugal, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian
Space Scoop - the children's version of this release is available at: http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1227/kids/
The ESO Education and Public Outreach Department
27 June 2012
20 June 2012: When ESA wanted to test concepts for future Mars roving vehicles they needed a landscape as similar to the surface of Mars as possible. The Atacama Desert at ESO’s Paranal ...