archive: SETI VLA Reveals a Close Pair of Potential Planetary Systems

SETI VLA Reveals a Close Pair of Potential Planetary Systems

Larry Klaes ( )
Wed, 23 Sep 1998 17:08:33 -0400

Planets apparently can form in many more binary star systems than previously thought, according to astronomers who used the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope to image protoplanetary disks around a close pair of stars.

And on the VLA Web site's Highlights of Current VLA Observations
for 1 - 31 August 1998:

Planets Around Stars

Along with the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), the VLA will observe several nearby stars in a long-term project to learn if those stars may have planets. This project would not directly detect the planets, but rather would detect them by measuring the effect of their gravitational pull on the star itself. This project will require several years of regular observations before any conclusions can be reached.

Gravitational Lenses

Five teams of observers will use the VLA to study different aspects of gravitational lenses. A gravitational lens occurs when the light or radio waves from a very distant object are "bent" by the gravity of another object, such as a galaxy or cluster of galaxies, between the distant object and the Earth. Studies of gravitational lens systems can provide valuable new information about the size and structure of the universe.