QUB Study’s Astronomical Breakthrough

Dr. Neale Gibson, Queens University Belfast. (Photo: QUB)

By Olivia O’Mahony, Editorial Assistant
October / November 2017

Astronomers at Queens University Belfast have aided in detecting titanium oxide in the atmosphere of an exoplanet (or extrasolar planet, the name given to a planet outside of our solar system that orbits a star) for the very first time in September. This reveals groundbreaking information about exoplanet WASP-19b, which is notable for possessing one of the shortest orbital periods of any known planetary body and its large size, akin to that of Jupiter.

With the help of the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, the team discovered new information about the swelteringly hot conditions of WASP-19b. “We used an algorithm that explores many millions of spectra spanning a wide range of chemical compositions, temperatures, and cloud or haze properties in order to draw our conclusions,” explained student Elyar Sedaghati in the journal Nature, where the study’s results were unveiled.

“These results are the culmination of many years of work in improving these techniques,” said Queens University Belfast researcher Dr. Neale Gibson. “In the near future, we hope to use these techniques on more Earth-like worlds, and explore the diversity of terrestrial planets in our neighborhood.” ♦

Leave a Reply




Share



More Articles

Removal of Belfast “Peace Wall” is a Milestone in Peace Process

A milestone in the Northern Irish peace process was reached in September when the Belfast community welcomed the first...

More

Irishman Ibrahim Halawa Acquitted After Four Years

After four years spent imprisoned in Egypt, Ibrahim Halawa, the son of Egyptian immigrants to Ireland, was acquitted of...

More

Viking Sword Discovered in Cork

A 1,000-year-old Viking weaver’s sword was unearthed by archaeologists at the site of the former Beamer and Crawford...

More

Ireland Launches Global Irish Diaspora Directory

In keeping with promises made at the second Global Irish Civic Forum held at Dublin Castle in May, Minister of the...

More