ESO’s NGTS array of telescopes to precisely detect transiting exoplanets


The Next-Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) array of telescopes at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile, has at last become fully functional with its receiving of the first light. Designed by an European team with experts from Britain, Germany and Switzerland, the NGTS is envisaged as an advanced installation tailored to finding out exoplanets that are bigger than our earth (up to 8-times). The task is more complex with the telescopic array being tailored to preciseness for specifically detecting planets in transit that are whizzing past in front of their parent star.

In other words, the NGTS with its arrangement of 12 telescopes, can detect the light fluctuation from these planets in motion. This brightness quotient in turn can be used to estimate the mass of the passing spherical body, which would further lead to the calculation of the density, and thus the composition of the exoplanet in question. Additionally, the astronomers could also take advantage of the improved monitoring capacity of the telescopes for finding out more such planet types. This increased magnitude of detection can lead to the detailed analysis of the atmospheric signatures of the transiting exoplanets – a progressive observation process which is very rarely achieved with our current technology.

In tune with such advanced capabilities, the NGTS is touted to have a precise brightness gauging capacity that is accurate to one part in a thousand. Moreover, the telescopes are robotic in nature, which makes the job of monitoring thousands of such planets far easier and streamlined. And, at last but not the least, the NGTS system is accompanied by the robust VLT (Very Large Telescope) at the Paranal Observatory site (on closer inspection, one can see it in the horizon – in the lower images). As per the collective state of astronomical affairs, this powerful telescopic mechanism will aid in the further study of the detected planets in a more detailed manner.

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Source: ESO / Via: TechTimes

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