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Departmental Alumnus Obtains First Direct Image of a Forming Planet

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dr. Adam Kraus (BS Astronomy, Math, Physics 2003) combined the power of the 10-meter Keck telescopes with a bit of optical sleight of hand, aperture mask interferometry, using a deformable mirror to rapidly correct for atmospheric distortions of starlight. This involved placing a small mask with several holes in the path of the light collected and concentrated by the giant telescope. The astronomers then manipulated the light waves and, for the first time, directly imaged the planet LkCa 15b itself, as well as the dusty matter around it.

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