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Charge Injection Device Boosts Possibility of Finding Earth-like Planets

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(Credit: Vitalij Cerepok / EyeEm via Getty Images) A new camera device may help find small, Earth-like exoplanets by making them easier to see in the glare of their companion star.Planet Earth Against Black Background
March 1
7:36 PM 2016

A charge injection device (CID) has been created to help people boost more chances of finding earth-like planets.  This new type of astronomical camera that can spot dim objects even behind Sirius, the brightest star in our galaxy was developed by researchers at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT).

Scientists keep bustling their minds in the great quest to find another Earth-like planet to sustain lives. One of the top requirements for such planet is that it needs to be orbiting near a star like our sun. This is where the challenge goes up to the next level. Based on the information from Planet Magazine, using regular telescope, images of planets orbiting near to a host star are usually "drowned" by the glare of the stars.  

Daniel Batcheldor, Head of Physics at the Florida Institute of Technology compared this quest to 'looking for a candle in the distance that has been put next to a lighthouse, which in reality is 'thousands of times worse'. He added, "Current instrument technology is very complex and expensive and still a way off from achieving direct images of Earth-like planets."

According to Daily Mail, a camera that was first developed in 1970 called CID (Charge Injection Device) may help to solve this problem. CID cameras consist of arrays of photosensitive pixels. Each individual pixel in the devices works individually and employs a special indexing system. Bright pixels are recognized rapidly while the fainter ones are permitted to bear on assembling more lights. This implies such gadgets can be utilized to recognize exoplanets alongside brilliant stars.

Science Daily informs that with an endowment from the American Astronomical Society, Batcheldor and several graduate students in the Physics and Space Sciences Department conducted the study using a CID on Florida Tech's 0.8-metre Ortega telescope. They could select any object 70 million times fainter through the glare of Sirius, the brightest star in our night sky.

The way that a dim object could be precisely identified through the not-as-much-as-perfect thick Florida atmosphere adds more excitement to the observations made by the CID.

Batcheldor arranged to test the CID at a telescope on the Canary Islands and a model for a CID is booked to be tried on the International Space Station (ISS) in the not so distant future this year.

One incredible thing about the procedure is how cheap it is compared to other solutions on how to find exoplanets. Batcheldor said, "Personally, I like very simple, straightforward solutions, especially when there is a complex problem. The CID is able to look at a very bright source next to a very faint source and not experience much of the image degradation you would normally experience with a typical camera."

This technology can be added to future space missions. Hopefully, it can help us know more about our earth location in the universe.

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