Seven Earth-sized planets have been observed by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope around a tiny, nearby, ultra-cool dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1. Three of these planets are firmly in the habitable zone. This discovery has been dominating the news and is positively impacting the telescope market. Combined with Elon Musk’s SpaceX, investors are becoming fascinated with all things space and futuristic.
We have come a long way from the earliest known working telescopes which appeared in 1608. Hans Lippershey from the Netherlands is credited with the initial device.
NASA Telescope Discovery Fuels Investor Interest
Over 21 days, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope measured the drop in light as each planet passed in front of the star. Spitzer was able to identify a total of seven rocky worlds, including three in the habitable zone, where liquid water might be found.
The video features interviews with Sean Carey, manager of the Spitzer Science Center, Caltech/IPAC; Nikole Lewis, James Webb Space Telescope project scientist, Space Telescope Science Institute; and Michaël Gillon, principal investigator, TRAPPIST, University of Liege, Belgium.
The system has been revealed through observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the ground-based TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope) telescope, as well as other ground-based observatories. The system was named for the TRAPPIST telescope.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado.
For more information about Spitzer, visit http://www.nasa.gov/spitzer.
NASA’s Next Great Telescope Discovery | James Webb Space Telescope
According to NASA, the James Webb Telescope will have mirrors that are ten times lighter than Hubble.
According to one NASA Scientist,
“The Hubble space telescope, its mirror is one circular mirror. But, in order to build a telescope that’s as big as the James Webb space telescope, we have to be able to fold it up and put it inside the rocket. And so you can’t fold a single mirror. And so we’ve had to build this mirror in segmented pieces. So if you look at the primary mirror there are these 18 different mirror segments that fit together and that fold up to go inside the telescope.”
Click here to watch the entire interview and learn more.