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p. 1107. Far-off worlds, distant sunslocked

  • David C. Catling


Beyond the Solar System, astronomers have discovered over 3,400 exoplanets. ‘Far-off worlds, distant suns’ explores the hunt for exoplanets and describes the methods astronomers have developed to find them. The first of these methods, indirect detection, looks for stellar properties, such as position or brightness, which are affected by the presence of unseen planets. The second is direct detection of a planet with an image or a spectrum of its light. Exoplanets with liquid water right at the surface have the chance of a biosphere that pumps lots of gases into an atmosphere. In principle, such biogenic gases are detectable in the light from the planet and might indicate life.

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