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January 13, 2012
The true color of the Milky Way, exoplanets, flying observatories or dark matter are not the stuff of science fiction, but the latest discoveries in astronomy presented to the public.
The most recent congress of the American Astronomical Society, held in the U.S. city of Austin from 8 to January 12, brought together experts from around the world exchanged and presented the latest developments in the study of the cosmos.
Although we do not know if there is life beyond our planet, or that we failed to reach Mars, experts say we are starting a new era with regard to our knowledge of other planets.
"The Kepler telescope and microlensing are leading to a kind of new era for the discovery of planets," said James Palmer BBC correspondent at the conference and scientist at the BBC.
Many more planets are known, are using new forms of observation and the new tools provide data increasingly clearer insight into mysteries unknown length.
BBC World has compiled some of the most important findings presented at the congress.
The true color of the Milky Way
Scientists claimed that the Milky Way has a white as snow "early afternoon"
Although it seems white light from the earth, the appearance of our galaxy is actually due to a trick of light. The question is: how does it look from the outside?
A study based on a comparison of ours with other galaxies gave a not very surprising result: white.
But not just any white: specifically, the white snow in the spring just after sunrise or before sunset.
"For astronomers, one of the most important parameters is actually the color of the galaxies," said the BBC Jeffrey Newman of the University of Pittsburgh.
"This tells us the age of the stars in a galaxy, since when have built up, and if they are new or millions of years ago," he added.
The discovery came through a comparison study with other galaxies, since we have not yet been possible to travel outside our own to observe the Milky Way from another angle.
"We're not just looking from the inside, but our view is blocked by space dust," said Newman.
"Just in the last 15 years we have to know about 70 planets outside our solar system, to 700 today,"
Martin Dominik, from the University of Saint Andrews, United Kingdom
To solve the problem Professor Newman decided to seek other galaxies like our own, observable from the tier
ra, and from there develop a model
With the feedback of millions of galaxies with similar characteristics to the Milky Way was made half of what color would be more like it has ours, and the result was very specific.
"The best description I can give is that if the observed
Spring is fresh snow, which has a good size flake, about an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset, you will see the same spectrum of light that would be an alien from another galaxy astronomer looking at the Milky Way, "Newman said.
This discovery is important in determining the age of our galaxy, which according to Newman already has many stars in its phase of decline.
Each star with a planet
Using a gravitational microlensing, an international team of scientists found a number of exoplanets stars linked to imply the existence of millions more, including about 10 billion Earth-like, just in our galaxy.
Experts believe that every star would possess at least one planet in its orbit
The method allowed this finding is to use the gravity of a big star to amplify the light from even more distant stars and planets around it.
The astronomers used a relatively small number of microscopes networked, and through them to observe the rare event of a star passing in front of another, as seen from Earth.
The team recently used this system to observe planets, and although the number found was relatively small, they were able to estimate how many may exist.
Although Kepler telescope has been the main tool for discovering new exoplanets in recent years, the microlenses are better to find planets of all sizes and at different distances.
"Just in the last 15 years we have to know about 70 planets outside our solar system to 700 today," he told the BBC Martin Dominik, from the University of Saint Andrews, United Kingdom.
A flying observatory
Important data from a powerful telescope were revealed during the conference. So far so normal, if not for the telescope was not located at the top of a hill, but in the back of a 747.
The 747 was slightly modified to place the observatory SOFIA
SOFIA, or Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, located above a plane made 35 flights last year, shedding light on the Orion Nebula and our neighbor Pluto.
The observatory can "see" wavelengths that no telescope with land based or space can be observed.
But SOFIA can also capture visible light to gather interesting data: a team of scientists used the observatory to collect data from a star when Pluto passed in front, seen from the earth.
Scientists were able to locate the exact spot on earth where you look better, and use the mobile telescope to collect them.
The mysteries of dark matter
At the conference were also some curious images. A French-Canadian team showed larger images known maps of dark matter, the mysterious substance that makes up 85% of the universe.
Dark matter is a type of matter that does not emit any electromagnetic radiation (light included), and therefore can not be observed by telescopes, but can be detected through the study of how it affects the light reflected by other elements in their vicinity.
The 4 images were taken in different seasons, each capturing a strip of sky as large as the palm of one hand at arm's length view.
These printers are a great leap forward in the understanding of dark matter and how it affects how we see the normal matter in the different galaxies in the evening.
"The light coming from a distant galaxy is bent by the gravity of the pieces of material to be found in the road," said Catherine Heymans of the University of Edinburgh.
"The theory of relativity Einstein shows us that mass distorts space and time, so when the light comes to us through the universe, if it crosses part of dark matter, its light curve and the image we see becomes distorted, "said Heymans.
The study is 100 times larger than previous maps produced dark matter, from the Hubble telescope.
The advances presented at the conference are important discoveries that will have everyone talking in the future.
Although we have not yet revealed even a fraction of their secrets, seen in Texas advances bring us closer to understanding the intricacies of our own cosmos.
Publicado por Nadir Sosa en 3:31:00 AM