Monday, February 22, 2010

Canadian Astronomers Share Prestigous Prize

The team of astronomers led by Dr. Christian Marois of the National Research Council's Herzberg Instituute of Astrophysics has won the 2009 Newcomb Cleveland Prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This award, the AAAS's oldest, recognizes the author or authors of an outstanding paper published in the journal Science.

Dr. Marois' team directly imaged three planets around the star HR 8799 using the Gemini and Keck telescopes. Their series of images show the three planets orbiting the star.

While the Marois result is exciting there will be many more planet images released in the future. At Gemini, the NICI Planet Campaign is using 500 hours on Gemini South to search for planets. In the next few years even more advanced instruments will be used to search for planets around a multitude of nearby stars. The Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) and SPHERE on the VLT should start looking for planets in late 2011.

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