Environment An Australian astronomer’s design helps NASA hunt planets

An Australian astronomer’s design helps NASA hunt planets

Dr. Christian Schwab from Macquarie University has developed the optical design for NASA’s new flagship spectrograph, NEID, a cutting-edge instrument used to detect planets orbiting stars outside our solar system.

The 10 million dollar project will be completed in 2019 and will be the centerpiece of a partnership between NASA and the National Science Foundation called the NASA-NSF Exoplanet Observational Research program (NN-EXPLORE).

When NEID is completed, it will be installed on the 3.5-meter WIYN telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona. It will be more stable than any existing spectrograph and will allow astronomers around the world to make the precise measurements of the motions of nearby, Sun-like stars.

Astronomer and Penn State Research Associate Chad Bender, who will help to oversee the construction of the instrument, noted that, “NEID’s capabilities are critical to the success of NASA’s upcoming exoplanet missions. NEID will follow-up on planets discovered by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and also will identify exciting targets to be observed by the James Webb Space Telescope and the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope.”

Read more here: Macquarie University.