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Portuguese DNA planet hunter reveals first images

Portuguese DNA planet hunter reveals first images

hThere is a new “planet hunter” on Earth. it’s called Nirbeswhich is the English acronym for the high-resolution near-infrared (or high-resolution near-infrared spectrometer) has now begun work on 3.6 meter ESO . telescope From La Silla Observatory, in Chile. Participation of the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (AI) in this innovative instrument, which explores the infrared region, comes after IA’s participation in several ESO instruments (ESO).

Alexandre Cabral (AI & Faculty of Science, University of Lisbon), the researcher responsible for Instrumentation and Systems Team for Astronomy Of the IA, he explains: “In this instrument, the IA was responsible for the design, construction and testing of the ADC (Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector), an optical system that corrects atmospheric induced dispersion, which is essential to achieving optimal results with NIRPS.”

One of the novelties of this instrument is the powerful system of adaptive optics, a technology that cancels out the effects of turbulence in our atmosphere. Thus, on the Earth’s surface, this system simulates conditions similar to those in space, which significantly increases the accuracy of the device.

Nuno Cardoso Santos (AI & Division. Physics and Astronomy Give Faculty of Science, University of Porto), the principal investigator at Planetary Systems Team From the IA, he explains: “NIRPS will allow for high-resolution spectra at infrared wavelengths, which complement data we currently collect in the visible range, with spectrometers such as HARPSin La Silla, or espressoIn the type of train. “

Now that it is operational, scientific work will begin with NIRPS, which will share relevant from the IA. The focus of this spectrometer will be to study rocky exoplanets, the type of planets believed to be key to deciphering planetary formation and evolution, as well as being considered the best candidates for the emergence of life.

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secondly Elisa Delgado Mina (AI & University of Porto): “We will use this tool to discover new planets around red dwarfs, which, as they are less hot stars, are easier to study in the infrared. NIRPS will also be used to confirm and characterize candidate planets spotted by the space mission.” he-goat (NASA), as well as a detailed study of the structure and composition of these planets.

NIRPS observations, along with those of visible-band spectrographs, such as ESPRESSO, could provide important clues about the formation of exoplanets, and even allow the search for signs of life in their atmospheres.

Although the main impetus for building this instrument was the observation of exoplanets, NIRPS will still be used in other areas, particularly in the study of stars. “NIRPS opens the way for us to explore a new spectral region, with a very relevant impact on the study of exoplanets and stellar astrophysics. In this sense, NIRPS is a very important step in our scientific preparation for new projects, including AndesIn the ELT. Nuno Santos adds.