In a recent paper in Nature Astronomy, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute/AEI) in Potsdam and from the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in Saclay, Paris suggest how the planned space-based gravitational-wave observatory LISA can detect exoplanets orbiting white dwarf binaries everywhere in the Milky Way and in the nearby Magellanic Clouds.

This new method will overcome certain limitations of current electromagnetic detection techniques and might allow LISA to detect planets down to 50 Earth masses.

In the past two decades, the knowledge of exoplanets has grown significantly, and more than 4000 planets orbiting a large variety of stars have been discovered. Up to now, the techniques used to find and characterize these systems are based on electromagnetic radiation and are limited to the solar neighborhood and some parts of the galaxy.

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