sep 292012
A New Tool for Exoplanet Discoveries

  Despite being infamously demoted from its status as a major planet, Pluto (and its largest companion Charon) recently posed as a surrogate extrasolar planetary system to help astronomers produce exceptionally high-resolution images with the Gemini North 8-meter telescope. Using a method called reconstructive speckle imaging, the researchers took the sharpest ground-based snapshots ever obtained [continue reading]

mrt 272012
Space Observations of Mercury Transits Yield Precise Solar Radius

A group of scientists from Hawaii, Brazil and California has measured the diameter of the Sun with unprecedented accuracy by using a spacecraft to time the transits of the planet Mercury across the face of the Sun in 2003 and 2006.   Mercury’s path across the solar disk as seen from SOHO on November 8, 2006. [continue reading]