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Swift
2016-Apr-13, 08:47 PM
Laboratory Equipment magazine (http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2016/04/evidence-first-exoplanets-discovered-century-old-carnegie-archives?et_cid=5229892&et_rid=54636800&type=headline&et_cid=5229892&et_rid=54636800&linkid=http%3a%2f%2fwww.laboratoryequipment.com%2f news%2f2016%2f04%2fevidence-first-exoplanets-discovered-century-old-carnegie-archives%3fet_cid%3d5229892%26et_rid%3d%%subscribe rid%%%26type%3dheadline)


Buried in the archives of an American observatory for 99 years was a breakthrough – it just needed to be rediscovered and dusted off.

An astronomical glass plate from 1917 filed away in the Carnegie Observatories basement in Pasadena, Calif., went unnoticed and overlooked for decades. But last year, a British astronomer doing research about planetary systems surrounding white dwarf stars requested it, since it depicted a spectrum of light from van Maanen’s star.

The spectrum revealed more than could have been expected to Jay Farihi of University College London. It showed an “absorption line” on the spectrum of light, showing the presence of heavier elements like calcium, magnesium and iron. Essentially, the star had rocky planetary remnants orbiting it, which disrupted and muffled the light.

Although the planets have not yet been specifically detected, the light and consequent debris indicate it is only a matter of time, according to Farihi.

“The mechanism that creates the rings of planetary debris, and the deposition onto the stellar atmosphere, requires the gravitational influence of full-fledged planets. The process couldn’t occur unless there were planets there,” he said.

Makes one wonder what else is waiting around in basements on glass plates.

LookingSkyward
2016-Apr-13, 09:18 PM
Truly - it would be cool to see a project to digitize the archive and make the digits available to researchers (you can do that with glass plates, yes?)

DaveC426913
2016-Apr-13, 10:45 PM
So, not so much discovered in 1917 as imaged in 1917? Or am I misinterpreting it?

Swift
2016-Apr-14, 01:37 AM
So, not so much discovered in 1917 as imaged in 1917? Or am I misinterpreting it?
No, that is correct. And even more correct: evidence for exoplanets imagined, the planet itself wasn't imaged.

Still, I at least think it a neat find.

KaiYeves
2016-Apr-14, 02:18 AM
Wow, what a cool news story!

StupendousMan
2016-Apr-14, 01:13 PM
Truly - it would be cool to see a project to digitize the archive and make the digits available to researchers (you can do that with glass plates, yes?)

Bingo.

http://dasch.rc.fas.harvard.edu/project.php

Don Alexander
2016-Apr-15, 11:25 PM
Laboratory Equipment magazine (http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2016/04/evidence-first-exoplanets-discovered-century-old-carnegie-archives?et_cid=5229892&et_rid=54636800&type=headline&et_cid=5229892&et_rid=54636800&linkid=http%3a%2f%2fwww.laboratoryequipment.com%2f news%2f2016%2f04%2fevidence-first-exoplanets-discovered-century-old-carnegie-archives%3fet_cid%3d5229892%26et_rid%3d%%subscribe rid%%%26type%3dheadline)


Makes one wonder what else is waiting around in basements on glass plates.
Mold. Dust. Alas.

publiusr
2016-Apr-16, 07:05 PM
Lots of nice texts all over the world--many at the Akademgorodok--never having been translated.