Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Quick Hit: Hubble Spotted Planet Back in 1998

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The Hubble Space Telescope was the first instrument to capture HR 8799b – an exosolar planet revolving around its parent star – back in 1998.   Due to the difficulty of the technique involved to detect the planet in the Hubble data, the planet was first announced by two other teams of planet hunters. Astronomers knew of the planet’s existence from images taken with the Keck and Gemini North telescopes in 2007 and 2008.  The new technique, using Hubble data, could unveil plenty of new exosolar planets.  There are over 10 years’ of Hubble data archived, after all.  200 stars have been examined by Hubble using the same technique as the one that ‘found’ HR 8799b.  I would be willing to bet that at least one additional exosolar planet is lurking in that archive, which is only one good reason to maintain that dataset.

It’s worth noting that NASA recently launched the Kepler Space Telescope.  It’s goal is to identify Earth-sized planets, not monsters like HR 8799b.

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