Thursday, November 10, 2011

dirty space news: transiting planets

we havent had a good installment of dirty space news in a while, so i'm pleased to present a killer! the caveat is that this one was created on purpose, but that doesnt make it any less brilliant!

as of right now, there are 697 exoplanets known. of these, 185 have been detected by the transit method.

if a planet happens to pass in front of its star from our point of view, it blocks a tiny amount of light output from the star. sensitive telescopes can detect this dip and then we can attempt to model how big the planet must be! the kepler space telescope, for example, looks for such systems with transiting planets.

some observations of transits at different wavelengths do not exactly agree in their timing, so people have suggested that the planet might push a shock wave in front of it that distorts the geometry of whats blocking the star's light (ie. it's not just a circular planet, but could be a different shape due to the shock.).

in order to test this theory, an industrious student from the UK wrote some code to test out the hypothesis. before the code was used to model real data, this student made an inspired choice as to which geometric forms to use and thankfully, shared the results on youtube.

without further ado... (turn your volume up and click on the image below)


Robot said...

I have tears :-)

amydove said...

Ha, that is awesome. It also reminds me of the good old days of grad school.

heroineworshipper said...

Heroines get this one faster than men do.

Niall said...

"Unfortunately, this UMG-music-content is not available in Germany because GEMA has not granted the respective music publishing rights. "

astropixie said...

oh no! that's so sad. the music really adds something extra special to this piece of work.

Anonymous said...

Use proxytube ;)