Are there Earth-like planets in neighboring star systems? The new organization called "Pale Red Dot" decided to demonstrate to the public in real time how this can be determined by exploring the vastness of space.
The project will be limited to the study of a small region of space containing many stars. Proxima Centauri is only four light-years from a dwarf called the "pale red dot." Observations will be made in this area for 3 months using advanced space equipment in Chile.
In particular, the 3,6-meter HARPS telescope at the La Silla observatory will come to the aid of scientists. The project will last until April 2016. Scientists even typed #PaleRedDot hashtag on Twitter. Many considered this move as a way of informing people about the progress (successes, failures) of the project. However, it is still too early to distribute any data, because they are not.
“Obviously, one of our main risks is that we don’t want to publish the results of our observations until they are repeatedly tested,” said Guillem Anglada, coordinator of the Pale Red Dot project, in an email to Discovery News. "The information we are planning to find out is so far hidden. All results will be published only after analyzing the data and discussing their truthfulness by scientists who will give their collective scientific assessment. During the campaign, the public will be able to track the progress of observations through the website, Twitter and Facebook, but will not have access to the data itself. "
It is possible that other teams of scientists have already been able to find a new exoplanet. I think this is very unlikely, so the Anglad team has quite small risks.
The team is confident that it will not be able to detect planets of the mass of the greater Earth 2-3 times in the habitable zone of Proxima, but this is possible. They will probably be able to find something more or less. HARPS tracks the gravitational vibrations of the planets and induces their stars. Whether this method works depends on how long the orbit is eccentric. Also, density plays a big role - something that can only be ascertained using measurements.
There are so many large planets in neighboring star systems. Kapteyn's star is located 13 light years away and has a number of two large planets about 5 and 7 Earth masses nearby. The search will give us two new things: having HARPS, scientists have the opportunity to observe the stars every day for two months, and also to compare them with the stars of other systems. Photometry (the science on the basis of which quantitative measurements are made of the energy characteristics of the radiation field) shows how active a star is and whether it can affect the radial velocities of objects.
HARPS - a telescope-hunter to search for new planets. The European Southern Observatory is also building the European Extremely Large Telescope, whose lens will be so large that it can be used to view the atmosphere on the giant planets.