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New generation of exoplanet imaging instruments: we can now observe exoplanets in real time! - SPHERE/ESO

New generation of exoplanet imaging instruments we can now observe exoplanets in real time Imgur

Source: SPHERE, VLT instrument at ESO

Stashed in: The Universe, SETI, Exoplanets

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SPHERE is the brain new exoplanet instrument that is being "verified" currently on the VLT in Chile. New exoplanet images coming!

The strange scattered figure in the middle is what remains of the star after it has been extincted with an optical tool called coronagraph.

"Killing" the star light is the only way to get a chance to see the planets as they are at least 1 million times fainter.

I am missing what makes this breakthrough possible.

Don't we get delayed by at least the distance between the exoplanet and us, divided by the speed of light?

Correct, but the flux is continuous, so you can look at this flux that arrives in real time, even if it's not exactly the position of the exoplanet as if you were just next to it.

I've just checked, HR8799 is ~129 light year away, so what we see is how it was 129 years ago. ^^

(That's about when Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone :D .)

Wow, that's so neat. Seems like it will improve the search for intelligent life. 

Yep that's definitely a new step on that way!

So then the next question is: Should we actively try to communicate with aliens?

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