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The proposed project “stellar Eclipse”, which will help to see extrasolar planets

To block the light of distant stars, not our Sun, astronomers want to ensure that their brightness has stopped in the way to study exoplanets. Initially, she is our helper – using the method of occlusion, we find the very existence of the planet. And the nature of the dimming glow expect a lot of useful information about the object, but then there is a desire to look directly at him. A bright light star becomes a hindrance.

The solution proposed in Stanford University – they’re going to build a complex of two nano-satellites. First, weight up to 100 kg, carries a mechanism of the Eclipse of the star light in the form of a collapsible barrier in the form flower diameter of 3 m. Second, 10-pound midget, with conventional space telescope rests in 1000 km from the older brother, trying to stay in his shadow, but not from the Sun, and the stars of deep space.

Form the shadow of the barrier and the relative position of two satellites in space calculated so that the light from the star, refracted and disappeared from the field of view small satellite. At the same time in the center of the “flower” is formed a small space is very dense star shadow, which and look in the telescope. This effect is achieved only at a certain time and in a particular place in the orbit of the Earth relative to the distant stars. A window for observation open for less than an hour – most of the time, the Duo of satellites drifting.

Of course, it is too wasteful, but the margin of error in the positioning of satellites is so small that I had to abandon manual control. Even delays of a radio signal, which is inevitable at cosmic distances, already create noise – all work will be carried out in automatic mode to eliminate the clumsy human factor. The Duo of satellites, the space laboratory will be fully Autonomous.

The project is the project, no start date, no budget has not been announced yet. And theoretical calculations show that the second Earth to find him, except that a gas giant the size of Jupiter. But such a development is fundamental – if we learn to manipulate the light of the stars, it will be a great help in space exploration, per se.
Source — Stanford University

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