An global team of astronomers lead by Carnegie Institution for Science, and including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale have made available to the public a massive dataset of observations taken from a remote facility in Hawaii. "We're trying to shift toward a more community-oriented idea of how we should do science, so that others can access the data and see something interesting".
The compilation has nearly 61,000 individual measurements that have been made of over 1,600 stars.The team, which has now made the data public, is offering unprecedented access to one of the best exoplanet searches in the world. The new research study published in The Astronomical Journal. Keck Observatory. Along with the dataset, the public is encouraged to download open-source software and an online tutorial to assist in analysis. The scientists have also identified more than 100 stars in the collected data that are good candidates for hosting planets, but need additional inspection - which, naturally, is why you're going to cancel your plans for next weekend.
The newly available observations were taken by the High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HIRES), an instrument mounted on the Keck Observatory's 10-meter telescope at Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
HIRES helps astronomers by splitting incoming light from the star into the "color" of certain elements (most commonly known as "spectrum"), making it easier to measure the wavelengths with accuracy. Keck's High-Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HIRES) instrument wasn't initially created to measure RV, but astronomers quickly realized it could be used for such studies.
More: Kepler finds 104 exoplanets in the largest single haul of confirmed planets The huge catalog - the largest ever released using a method called radial velocity (RV), the slight movements some stars make in response to internal or external forces (such as the gravitational pull of an exoplanet) - was made possible thanks to a little bit of outside-of-the-box thinking.
"HIRES was not specifically optimized to do this type of exoplanet detective work, but has turned out to be a workhorse instrument of the field", team member Steven Vogt from the University of California, Santa Cruz, said. 1 light year away from the earth.
Researchers found around 60 candidates that could be classified as exoplanets, along with 54 more celestial bodies that have yet to be classified, but could be exoplanets.
The radial-velocity planet-hunting observations contains around 61,000 measurements from 1,600 stars, a statement by UCSC revealed.
The discovery of 100 extra solar planets, includes one orbiting the fourth closest start to the Solar System. The planet has an extremely tight orbit, circling the star in less than 10 days.