Trick Telescopy Aids in Search for Alien Life

Precision mirrors could show stargazers planets far, far away
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2008 2:03 PM CDT
Trick Telescopy Aids in Search for Alien Life
"Wobbles" in light spectrums can show the pull of a nearby planet.   (Shutterstock)

Telescope technology currently in the works will use light measurements to search for planets beyond our solar system whose orbit around a star means they could support life, Wired reports. The system, called nulling interferometry, uses tiny mirrors that move at atomic levels to combine the power of several telescopes, creating a device that could see a quarter on the moon.

Nulling interferometry would detect the planets by observing miniscule “wobbles” in stars’ light spectrums, which indicate the gravitational pull of a nearby planet. “The goal is nothing less than finding the first ever Earth-like planet orbiting around a star,” says an astronomer. The search could begin in 6 months, via telescopes in Chile, on which the system is currently being installed. (Read more space stories.)

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