POST Online Media Lite Edition



 

1917 astronomical plate has first-ever evidence of exoplanetary system

Staff writer |
A 1917 image on an astronomical glass plate from Carnegie Observatories' collection shows the first-ever evidence of a planetary system beyond our own Sun.

Article continues below






This unexpected find was recognized in the process of researching an article about planetary systems surrounding white dwarf stars in New Astronomy Reviews.

About a year ago, Jay Farihi of University College London, contacted Carnegie Institution for Science Observatories' Director, John Mulchaey.

He was looking for a plate in the Carnegie archive that contained a spectrum of van Maanen's star, a white dwarf discovered by Dutch-American astronomer Adriaan van Maanen in the very year our own plate was made.

Stellar spectra are recordings of the light emitted by distant stars. Spectra spread out all of the component colors of light, like a rainbow from a prism, and they can teach astronomers about a star's chemical composition.

They can also tell them how the light emitted by a star is affected by the chemistry of the things it passes through before reaching us on Earth.

Stellar spectra images allowed 19th century astronomers to develop a system for classifying stars that is still used today. Modern astronomers use digital tools to image stars, but for decades, they would use glass photographic plates both to take images of the sky, and to record stellar spectra.

The Observatories located the 1917 plate, made by former Observatories Director Walter Adams at Mount Wilson Observatory, which was then part of Carnegie. Other than a notation on the plate's sleeve indicating that the star looked a bit warmer than our own Sun, everything seemed very ordinary.

However, when Farihi examined the spectrum, he found something quite extraordinary.

The clue was in what's called an "absorption line" on the spectrum. Absorption lines indicate "missing pieces," areas where the light coming from a star passed through something and had a particular color of light absorbed by that substance. These lines indicate the chemical makeup of the interfering object.

Carnegie's 1917 spectrum of van Maanen's star revealed the presence of heavier elements, such as calcium, magnesium, and iron, which should have long since disappeared into the star's interior due to their weight.

Only within the last 12 years has it become clear to astronomers that van Maanen's star and other white dwarfs with heavy elements in their spectra represent a type of planetary system featuring vast rings of rocky planetary remnants that deposit debris into the stellar atmosphere.

These recently discovered systems are called "polluted white dwarfs." They were a surprise to astronomers, because white dwarfs are stars like our own Sun at the end of their lifetimes, so it was not at all expected that they would have leftover planetary material around them at that stage.

Planets themselves have not yet been detected orbiting van Maanen's star, nor around similar systems, but Farihi is confident it is only a matter of time.


What to read next

Simple rule predicts when ice age ends
The construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope to begin next year
Scientists discover hidden galaxies behind the Milky Way

U.S. preliminarily finds some companies circumventing solar tariffs

 
The US Department of Commerce on Friday published its preliminary determination in a solar circumvention case, finding that certain companies in four Southeast Asian countries are dodging US duties on Chinese solar cells and modules.
 
 

Latest

Norwegian seafood exports in November increased
Germany: InvestEU - EIB invests in PBT’s eco-friendly battery material production
James Webb telescope produces an unparalleled view of the ghostly light in galaxy clusters
Currys: Amazon uses UK infrastructure while not paying enough tax

NEWS

Arctic blast set to freeze Britain as temperatures plunge to -8C

Poland: CBA detained two more persons in financial pyramid case
Flight from Poland diverted to Prague after possible bomb threat
Spain dismantles criminal organization dedicated to "CEO fraud" that operated nationally and internationally
UK rail dispute continues, union rejects latest offer from employers
South Africa: AFU seizes $2 million in assets held by corruption accused
 

BUSINESS

Switzerland watchdog investigates labour market in banking sector

EU’s embargo on Russian oil shipments, price cap mechanism come into force
Worldwide PC shipments declined 19.5% in third quarter of 2022
Highlights: November 28, 2022 - December 2, 2022
Air pollution hurts Bangladesh GDP and health
Iran begins procedures to build Darkhovin Nuclear Plant
 

Trending Now

Worldwide PC shipments declined 19.5% in third quarter of 2022

Commission opens in-depth investigation into Lithuanian measure to compensate Litgas for operation of LNG terminal

Byline Bancorp to merge with Inland Bancorp in $165m deal

High pathogenic avian influenza confirmed in Columbia County, Oregon


POLITICS

Commission opens in-depth investigation into Lithuanian measure to compensate Litgas for operation of LNG terminal

Indonesia plans to build nuclear power plant
€13.5 billion French scheme to compensate energy-intensive companies for indirect emission costs
UK: Business Secretary launches review to prevent small firms from being ripped off by larger companies
UK government could bring in military to ease strike action, Sunak may prepare new ban on strike
Moscow will not accept price cap on Russian oil
 

Today We Recommend

Trafigura enters $3 bln loan to supply Germany's Sefe with gas


Highlights 

Iran’s shrimp exports to Russia up by 350% this year

Global food prices overall hold steady in November

Essar plans $4.9 bln petrochemical complex in Odisha


COMPANIES

New Zealand mulls law to make Google, Meta pay for news content

John Lewis Partnership to build 1,000 rental homes
Trafigura enters $3 bln loan to supply Germany's Sefe with gas
New Zealand fines sunscreen company for claims that could not be backed up
ALDI can acquire Altmühltaler Mineralbrunnen, Schwarz Group can take over Erfurter Teigwaren
Austria: EIB supports RLB NÖ-Wien's investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency
 

CAREERS

Boeing appoints Brendan Nelson as Boeing International

Totally appoints John McMullan as medical director
Derby Building Products promotes Michael Morris to SVP
Former UK CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli to join Keystone
US Foods appoints Dave Flitman as CEO
G Mining Ventures appoints Carlos Vilhena to board
 

ECONOMY

CBI severely downgrades UK growth forecast

Japan services PMI continued to expand in November
Italy: GDP growth loses momentum in Q3
Indonesia: Inflation declines to lowest level since August in November
Australia retail sales contract in October
Cyprus' GDP growth estimated at 5.4 pct in Q3
 

EARNINGS

Genesco Q3 2023 GAAP earnings $1.66

Kirkland's Q3 sales $131.0 million
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Q1 2023 revenue $839.5 million
Malvern Bancorp Q4 net income $2.6 million
Big Lots Q3 loss $4.33 million
Kroger Q3 profit decreases
 

OP-ED

Micromanaging is the worst enemy of efficiency and teamwork

Niger set to monetize massive gas reserves through Saharan natural gas pipeline
Putting the brakes on EV folly that choked the market
Oil discovery in Kavango Basin may mean huge benefits for Namibians
Cape Town and Dubai battle over Africa's energy future
Is America going to lose its superpower status?
 

AGRIFISH

Iran’s shrimp exports to Russia up by 350% this year

High pathogenic avian influenza confirmed in Columbia County, Oregon
Sanitary certificate to export bovine meat from Argentina agreed with Mexico
Czech Republic detects first African swine fever case in 5 years
Dutch cattle herd size barely changed in 2022
Global food prices overall hold steady in November
 

LEADERSHIP

Only 32% of employees believe their pay is fair

Corporate duty waivers limit organic company growth and innovation
Women buy from women, men buy from women and men
How employee opinion impacts CEO dismissal
Keeping it in family can be good news when it comes to CEOs
Over a third of office workers are hybrid 'misfits'
 

CRIME

Glencore to pay Republic of Congo $180 mln over alleged corruption claims

Fraudsters target water infrastructure projects, OLAF closes several cases
Rhode Island man to pay more than $2.8 million in restitution for virtual currency fraud
Switzerland fines ABB $4.3 mn over South Africa bribery
New Mexico AG announces $58.5 million opioid settlement with Smith’s Food and drug parent Kroger
Florida AG announces multistate action against CarMax over the disclosure of safety recalls
 

Magazine

TRAVEL

All aboard the Heathrow Festive Express

Asuncion, Mother of Cities and Paraguay’s center of culture, music and shopping
"Pets with Love" Dog Adoption Carnival 2022 to be held in Hong Kong
Weather-resistant ArtWalk Downtown Billings, Montana
Dual branded Courtyard and Residence Inn by Marriott Hotel opens in Montreal
Candlewood Suites Hotel opens in Aberdeen, Md.
 

SEA, LAND, AIR

Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato, first super sports car for any terrain

New colorful Porsche 718 Style Edition models
2023 Toyota Prius Prime, solar panel roof and reliability
Volvo EX90, a car with updates
Cessna Citation CJ4 Gen2 jet, pursue your business goals while enjoying journey
GMC first Sierra EV marks turning point
 

DESIGN

Patchwork carpets, vintage Persian carpets made with unparalleled skill

Real life wallpapers, perfectly executed
A. Lange & Söhne, men's watches with true Saxonian DNA
Nella Vetrina, luxurious Italian designers bathroom vanities and furniture
Karastan rugs, durable and beautiful
Leather bags for every occasion and every life style
 

GADGETS

ASUS launches ExpertBook B9 for executives

Take Elektor Fortissimo and make your own high-end amplifier
RangeXTD, a Wi-Fi extender that actually works
Monitor II A.N.C. headphones, iconic Marshall sound
Zebra TC15, a clever mix of a mobile phone and a computer for business use
Bathroom speakers will make your relaxing even better
 

HEALTH

Cornwall first area in England to trial NHS Digital Health Check

Huge rise of scarlet fever cases in UK, 6 kids dead of Strep A
Neglecting COVID this year created perfect conditions for deadly new variant
EMA recommends withdrawal of pholcodine medicines from EU market
Nearly 200 sick in EU and UK Salmonella outbreak
FDA bans Eli Lilly, Regeneron antibody use in COVID-19 patients infected by omicron
 

MEANTIME

China's two meteorological satellites put into operation

Lagoon dries up as drought grips Peru
Mysteriously bright flash is black hole jet pointing straight toward Earth
Researchers discover Egypt's oldest tomb oriented to winter solstice
China's latest manned space mission blasts off
Astrophysicists hunt for second-closest supermassive black hole