Probing the New Solar System

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An international team led by an UdeM astronomer gets a clearer picture of what is likely the most abundant type of planet in the universe. It was a daunting task that took five years and the accumulation of many data sets from NASA's powerful Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes. The one that Benneke's team studied in particular — described in a paper published today in Nature Astronomy — is called GJ b. It may be a cross between Earth and Neptune, with a large rocky core buried beneath a deep hydrogen and helium atmosphere so heavy it crushes everything beneath it.

GJ b weighs In fact, 80 per cent of the planets in our galaxy fall into this mass and size range. However, astronomers have never been able to understand the chemical nature of such a planet until now. Key to studying the atmosphere of a world like GJ b are spectroscopic observations. To probe the planet, the astronomers enlisted the combined multi-wavelength capabilities of the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes. They measured changes in starlight as the planet passed in front of its star transit and passed behind it eclipse.

In total, the two space telescopes observed 12 transits and 20 eclipses. One thing they can accurately describe is GJ b's atmosphere: it's mostly clear, covered only in thin hazes that are transparent under infrared light, so the scientists were able probe deep into it. Satish Dhawan. Communications satellite companies comparison Private spaceflight companies Rocket launch sites Space agencies Spacecraft manufacturers. First orbital launches by country NASA missions Constellation missions Timeline of private spaceflight Timeline of longest spaceflights. The Solar System.

Comets Dwarf planets possible Gravitationally rounded objects Minor planets names Natural satellites Solar System models Solar System objects by size by discovery date. Accretion Accretion disk Asteroid belt Circumplanetary disk Circumstellar disc Circumstellar envelope Cosmic dust Debris disk Detached object Disrupted planet Excretion disk Exoplanetary Circumstellar Environments and Disk Explorer Exozodiacal dust Extraterrestrial materials Extraterrestrial sample curation Giant-impact hypothesis Gravitational collapse Hills cloud Interplanetary dust cloud Interplanetary medium Interplanetary space Interstellar cloud Interstellar dust Interstellar medium Interstellar space Kuiper belt List of interstellar and circumstellar molecules Merging stars Molecular cloud Nebular hypothesis Oort cloud Outer space Planetary migration Planetary system Planetesimal Planet formation Protoplanetary disk Ring system Rubble pile Sample-return mission Scattered disc Star formation.

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Views Read Edit View history. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Pioneer 6 A. Pioneer 7 B.

NASA probe finds a snowman-shaped relic of the early Solar System

Pioneer 8 C. Pioneer 9 D.

Helios A. Ulysses first pass. November — still active as of December [2]. May — extended to December [3]. August — projected until [4]. Ulysses second pass. December — still active as of September [5] [6]. December — October August — communication lost between October 1, and August 21, [6] [7].

Ulysses third pass. Parker Solar Probe.

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Mercury Planetary Orbiter. Mio Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter. Tyazhely Sputnik. Sputnik Cosmos Pioneer Venus Orbiter. Pioneer Venus Multiprobe. BepiColombo first pass. BepiColombo second pass. ISRO Venus orbiter mission. Venus In Situ Explorer. Mars A. Mars B. Mars orbit acquired, but contact lost shortly before Phobos approach phase and deployment of Phobos landers.

Mars Global Surveyor.

Probing Worlds Beyond Our Solar System

Mars Climate Orbiter. Mars Polar Lander. MER-A " Spirit ". MER-B " Opportunity ". Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. MSL Curiosity. Schiaparelli EDM lander. Mars Helicopter Scout. Mars Orbiter Mission 2. Mars Sample Return Mission. Late s [48].

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NEAR Shoemaker. It returned to Earth in Minerva II Deep Impact. January [54]. Near-Earth Asteroid Scout. First flyby of a Trojan Camp Jupiter Trojan. Galileo Orbiter.

List of Solar System probes - Wikipedia

Galileo Probe. Deep Space 1. Stardust redesignated NExT. Left Jupiter in December Mission ended March Last contact January 23, Craft now presumed dead; no further contact attempts planned. Left Saturn in September Last contact September The craft's antenna cannot be maneuvered to point to Earth, and it is not known if it is still transmitting. No further contact attempts are planned. Left Saturn in November Still in regular contact and transmitting scientific data. Contact hoped to be maintained until at least Left Neptune in August Sun-Earth L2 point.

Spitzer Space Telescope. Herschel Space Observatory. Lissajous orbit around Sun-Earth L2 point. Left the point on 15 April , then flew by asteroid Toutatis. Shin'en 2.

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