Baltimore astronomers will help NASA understand newly discovered exoplanets - Technical.ly Baltimore

Sciences

Feb. 23, 2017 7:54 am

Baltimore astronomers will help NASA understand newly discovered exoplanets

The Space Telescope Science Institute at Johns Hopkins is providing atmospheric observations of the planets that make up Trappist-1.

Get ready to hear more about Trappist-1.

(Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The big news of NASA’s discovery of a system of seven Earth-like exoplanets had most of the internet ready to sign up for a trip off this rock.

We don’t blame you. After all, the system is a “relatively close” 40 light years (235 trillion miles) away. The names seem made to pull you into its orbit. The planets make up a system called Trappist-1. The star is an ultra-cool dwarf. Plus, the space agency’s rollout was accompanied with a marketing campaign that screams, “Get me to a new habitable zone.”

Trappist-1 poster. (Image via NASA)

Trappist-1 poster. (Image via NASA)

But we are a bit more tied to Earthly concerns. At this ultra-terrestrial hyperlocal tech news site, we must ask one question: “How is Baltimore involved?”

So here’s the deal: The discovery of the seven planets was made primarily by the Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) and confirmed by the Spitzer Space Telescope. But it’s a big operation that pulled in lots of telescopes, including the Hubble.

Luckily, we have the science operations center for the Hubble right over near Johns Hopkins’ Homewood Campus. That’s the home base for the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI).

In studying two of the exoplanets, the Hubble team already made a key observation that these planets did not have puffy, gaseous atmospheres. Now they will be looking deeper, and the study will continue when STScI transitions to the next-generation James Webb Space Telescope. STScI astronomer Nikole Lewis was at NASA’s press conference on Wednesday, and said she is looking forward to studying the atmospheres of the other planets.

Advertisement

The discovery “provides one of the best opportunities in the next decade to study the atmospheres around Earth-size planets,” she said.

And there may be more discoveries to come.

-30-
JOIN THE COMMUNITY, BECOME A MEMBER
Already a member? Sign in here
Connect with companies from the Technical.ly community
New call-to-action

Advertisement

UMBC and UMB are joining forces to protect and probe medical data

What Digital Harbor made for the Apollo moon landing anniversary

JHU Applied Physics Lab’s Dragonfly drone is heading to Saturn’s largest moon

SPONSORED

Baltimore

Verizon is looking for the brightest ideas on how to use its 5G technology

Baltimore, MD

Agora Financial

Sr. Frontend Developer

Apply Now
Baltimore, MD 21201

14 West

Junior Database Administrator

Apply Now
Baltimore, MD

SmartLogic

Account Executive (Baltimore)

Apply Now

Here’s a chance to see the marine science research happening inside Inner Harbor’s IMET

UB’s PoeGrammers created augmented reality for spacewalks. Now they’re bringing it to NASA

4 JHU professors received the Bisciotti Foundation Translational Fund’s first grants

SPONSORED

Baltimore

Escape the August heat with cool AI tech

Baltimore, MD

14 West

Product Operations Manager

Apply Now
Philadelphia OR Baltimore

Technically Media

Technical.ly Editorial Intern (Fall 2019)

Apply Now
Baltimore

Fastspot

Business Development Manager

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Baltimore

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!