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A home-brew observatory detects exoplanet

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Posted December 2, 2014

David Schneider, a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum, was interested in exoplanets, planets that orbit stars other than the sun, but figured this kind of exercise as a home-based project was going to need expensive telescopes; he stumbled across a project at Ohio State University, where resourceful astronomers had figured out a way to spot exoplanets using a device with a lens designed for high-end cameras. Schneider’s wheels turned, thinking he might also be able to pull this off if he got his hands on a charge-coupled-device detector not research-grade, and maybe he could forget about an expensive telescope as well? He also discovered an online posting by an amateur astronomer saying he had detected a known exoplanet using a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera with a telephoto lens.

A home-brew observatory detects exoplanet

Credit: David Schneider

So go the events leading up to Schneider’s recent DIY video, which shows him successfully star-tracking with a telephoto lens and barndoor tracker—otherwise known as two pieces of plywood hinged together. Without the aid of a high powered telescope, then, “You yourself can detect an extrasolar planet, and I’m gonna show you how,” he tells viewers, showing a little telephoto lens.

Read more at: Phys.org

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