View Full Version : Keck Can Turn Down Starlight to See Planetary Disks

2005-Sep-30, 05:06 PM
SUMMARY: The massive Keck Observatory at the top of Hawaii's Mauna Kea has learned a new trick: it can block the light from stars to see faint objects near them. This will be an invaluable tool for analyzing young star systems, since planetary disks are often impossible to see next to the dazzling light of a star. This new instrument is called a "nuller", and it's able to reduce the light from a star by a factor of 100 times. Similar technology will be used in future planet hunting missions to see dim planets lurking beside their stars.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/keck_planet_finding_ability.html)
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2005-Oct-05, 03:30 AM
This is great stuff. It may turn out that the JWT may be obsolete even before NASA puts it up into orbit, much like the HST is being made more and more obsolete by the explosion in ground based technology and its applications in the last 10 years.