Study notes, data, statistics on planets, astronomical beings, the greenhouse effect

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Future Telescopes

* a newly proposed Exo-Earth Imager (EEI) could show astronomers an Amazon-size forest, with its green hint of biology, on an Earth-size planet 30 light years away.

*It's a bold promise, considering that NASA and the European Space Agency are still a dozen years away from even attempting a Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) that could barely see such worlds as tiny specks.

*One NASA concept envisions a spaceborne array of 20 telescopes, each 26 feet in diameter separated by as much as 3,700 miles in space.

*the EEI would use many little mirrors instead of a few big ones, and would rely on a new technique called "densified pupil imaging" to get the most from the meager amount of light reflected from a distant planet.

*It would need 150 telescopes, each 10 feet wide, arranged in three concentric circles, with a baseline of 100 miles or so. It should be able to return snapshots 30 to 40 picture elements (pixels) wide of an Earth-size planet 10 light years away.

*Study teams in Europe and the United States will take a close look at the proposal for a scaled-down, 36-telescope version called the Exo-Earth Discoverer to see if it can be adapted for the TPF design

* Building and flying 150 spacecraft in ultra-precise formation is no cheap or easy task.

*the observatory hopes to begin testing the principles of a hyper-telescope with a ground-based array called CARLINA sometime in the near future

Comets, meteoroids, and asteroids


*chunks of dirt, rock, ice that orbit the Sun on incredibly large orbits from out beyond Pluto/Neptune

*elongated orbits

*occasionally we see them when they are close to the Sun

*the Sun's radiation vaporizes some of the comet's ices producing observable long flowing tails of and dust particles.

*When far from...