Search for Extra-Solar Planets
[Whoa! The search for planets by using transits has progressed so
quickly that I can't keep up with all of the discoveries. While that in
itself is good news, this page quickly becomes dated. I will resume updating
this page at a later date. Thanks for understanding.]
SOHO spacecraft monitors the sun.
SOHO astronomers note...
- Venus can likely be used "for calibration purposes for both LASCO and
UVCS coronagraphs. Its brightness can be used for refining visible light
radiometric quantities and its position (before the transit) can be used for
absolute pointing corrections. During the transit on the disk, Venus
may be similarly useful for the disk imagers (EIT and MDI)." --Leonard
- "Unfortunately, the Venus transit will not be a disk transit seen
from SOHO. Although we're roughly in the same direction as Earth seen from
the Sun, there are some differences (the Sun is a very powerful radio
source, so to avoid interference with our downlink we can never be directly
in from of the Sun as seen from Earth). It will be a coronal transit,
though, much like the Mercury transit of 1999 (see http://soho.nascom.nasa.gov/hotshots/1999_11_15/).
Venus will be a much bigger dark spot, though!" --Stein
Vidar Hagfors Haugan
The satellite's Keyhole--its definition, its significance, its challenges,
its impact--is well explained as SOHO takes the pulse of the sun. See what the SOHO team is thinking
and how they respond to satellite challenges. 04-01-22
SOHO captures Mercury transit on May 7, 2003. Still images and movies
NASA's newly approved Kepler mission will search for earth-class planets
by looking for transits of planets around 100,000 distant stars.
"Solar Transits: Tools of Discovery" article by Edna DeVore
describes how transits are significant both as historical events and as
cutting-edge research tools.
California & Carnegie Planet Search keeps you current on exo-planet research
"Search for extra-solar planets, or planets orbiting stars other than the
Sun, by the transits they make..."
SETI document describes detecting other worlds using the photometric
transit or 'wink' method; by Dr. Laurance Doyle.
Press release (Jan. 6, 2003) announces first planet detected by transit method,
which used ground-based telescopes.
ESO press release (April 22, 2003) announces discovery of glowing hot transiting
Press release (August 24, 2004): "Network of small telescopes discovers distant
planet (TrES-1)." Image courtesy of NASA JPL.
Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) "will enable astronomers to carry out a
broad range of unprecedented astronomical observations, including some of the
first direct observations of giant planets around other stars."
TRACE spacecraft captures image of Mercury transiting sun in 1999.
TRACE spacecraft captures image of Mercury transiting sun in 2003. For
more transit of Mercury images and movies see http://www.williams.edu/astronomy/eclipse/transits/index.html#mercury.
False color x-ray images of Mercury transiting sun taken by the Yohkoh
A collection of educational materials relating to the sun, its effects, and the Genesis
mission. The Genesis spacecraft, sent "a million miles sunward
to collect pieces of the sun, called solar wind, ... unfolded its collectors and
began a two-year 'sunbath.' Upon its return to Earth in 2004, scientists
will study the solar wind samples."
Animations show Messenger spacecraft imaging Venus during a flyby on June
24, 2004, after the transit of Venus.
The solar image in our
logo is from the SOHO spacecraft.
Sun-Earth Day resources from the fun folks at
the Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum.
"The Canadian Space Agency satellite SCISAT-1 (ACE) is set to take Venus
Transit measurements using its on-board high-resolution Fourier transform
spectrometer. SCISAT-1 will observe the transit as part of the ACE studies
that are measuring and understanding the chemical processes that control the
distribution of atmospheric ozone in the Arctic;" from the University of