Experienced investigators use fingerprints to solve a case. Now astronomers can follow in their footsteps by applying “light prints” to uncover the secrets of other worlds.
Researchers at Cornell University have created a reference catalog using calibrated spectra and geometric albedo (surface reflected light) for 19 different bodies of the solar system. These are 8 planets (from rocky to gaseous), 9 moons (from ice to lava) and 2 dwarf planets (Pluto and Ceres).
Earth with albedo on top of the planet
Comparing the observed spectra and albedo of exoplanets with a catalog of their own planetary system, scientists are able to characterize them in relation to a wide range of icy, stony and gaseous worlds. That is, all the known data of the Solar System will serve as a kind of Rosetta stone for studying foreign systems. The catalog of light prints will allow you to compare new observations of exoplanets with our objects.
The catalog is available on the website of the Carl Sagan Institute. It includes high and low resolution versions of data that show the effect of spectral resolution on the identification of an object. In addition, it presents examples of how the colors of 19 solar system models would change if objects rotated around other stars.
Jupiter with albedo
In the 70s and 80s. planetary science has opened up new horizons with spectral measurements for the bodies of our system. In the near future, a similar breakthrough is expected for exoplanets. The technology of direct collection of light from the planets of the earth parameter is still in development and development. With the future launch of the James Webb Space Telescope and the current construction of the Extremely Large Telescope, the scientific world will enter a new era of observational capabilities. Therefore, one cannot do without a reference catalog of all known planets and satellites.
The catalog will give priority to intensive observations of superresonant planets and high-resolution satellites. Also shows which worlds cannot be easily classified without spectra. For example, Venus is a rocky world, but sunlight reflects the dense atmosphere of carbon dioxide, and not a rocky surface. At the outer edge of the habitat zone, such worlds must exist, which will require long-term observations for proper characterization.