Holy Gassy Giants, BatmanDecember 9, 2008
This is outstandingly amazing. And clever. Philly P breaks it down (as he does best) for the non-technical:
They got a spectrum of the star and the planet at the same time, and then waited until the planet was behind the star and got a spectrum of just the star by its lonesome. By subtracting the star’s spectrum from the star+planet spectrum, they got the spectrum of just the planet itself.
Because I am Not an Astronomer (TM), I often tell people in my theater that astronomy is something that I really have to do my homework on, because there is literally new astronomy news every single day. This is a perfect example of that.
I can only imagine that this technique will become more and more easy and prolific, and we’ll be learning lots of extra things about extrasolar planets in the very near future.