Letter | Published:

Detecting nonsolar planets by spinning infrared interferometer

Nature volume 274, pages 780781 (24 August 1978) | Download Citation

Subjects

Abstract

THE only known planets are the nine in our Solar System, so the origin of the Solar System and of stars in general would be clarified if other planetary systems could be discovered. Likewise, speculation about life in the Galaxy would benefit from knowing which stars have planets. Astrometry, radial velocity measurement, and direct photography from orbit might detect planets, but none of these approaches will be easy. Astrometry would require detection of the motion of a stellar image, relative to background stars, by ±0.5 arcms as 12 yr elapse (for a system identical to the Sun plus Jupiter but situated at a distance of 10 pc). Alternatively, a radial velocity change of ±12 m s−1 over the 12 yr would reveal a Jupiter-like planet which would mean detecting a spectral line shift of 2×10−4 line widths in a line 0.1 nm wide. The instruments required would need stability over a period of years as well as sensitivity. Direct photography from orbit would invoke precision apodisation and would require surface accuracies on optical surfaces of hitherto unattained quality. The new infrared method proposed here also needs to be considered.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    Final Rep. NASA Grant 05-020-019, Stanford Univ. (1977).

  2. 2.

    & J. Spacecraft Rockets 13, 667 (1976).

  3. 3.

    Proc. SPIE Symp Infrared Technology (1975, 1976) 95, 8 (1976).

  4. 4.

    , & Astrophys. J. Lett. 168, L73 (1971).

  5. 5.

    , , & Nature 231, 375 (1971).

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Electrical Engineering Department, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305

    • R. N. BRACEWELL

Authors

  1. Search for R. N. BRACEWELL in:

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/274780a0

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.