vortex coronagraph

Posted by colby

Image of planets around HR8799, source: C.Marois et al doi: 10.1126/science.1166585

The star HR8799 hit the news in 2008 when direct images of planets orbiting it (seen at right, labeled b,c and d) were published by Christian Marois and his team at the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics. Taking direct images of planets around other stars is extremely difficult, as the brightness of the star exceeds the reflections from its planets by many thousands of times and, up until now, required using the most sophisticated telescopes available (Hubble, Keck, etc...).

However, a counter intuitive relationship between resolution and primary mirror size can enable this sort of direct imaging of exoplanets on much smaller telescopes.