By C. P. S. Menon
A reconstruction of the earliest cosmic approach. Contents: an introductory survey; oblong enclosures; Hindu astronomy, the zodiacal divisions and sq. shape within the sacrificial period; Meru cosmology; chinese language astronomy; Babylonian astronomy; gleanings from different international locations; a few functional purposes; early cosmology. Appendices include divisions of the zodiac and Babylonian ecliptical constellations.
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Extra info for Early Astronomy And Cosmology
Planetary systems are inclined at random angles. When we observe them from Earth, few of them will be aligned so that we can see a planet transit. The closer the orbit of the planet to its star, the higher the probability that we can see a transit. 9780465021932-text_Layout 1 9/27/11 12:10 PM Page 36 36 THE LIFE OF SUPER-EARTHS With such a low probability, tens of thousands of stars must be monitored patiently to detect periodic dimming due to planet transits in a handful. In this only the gravitational lensing method rivals the transiting method.
In fact, it could even damage the detector. Somewhere, lost in this scattered stellar light, is the faint light speck of the planet. That is why discovering a planet orbiting a normal star is such a big challenge. 3 One method is to try observing the star and planet in other types of light. The star-toplanet ratio might be a billion to 1 or 10 billion to 1 in visible light. But as we know, light is a mixture of colors—waves of different length (or wavelength). These waves, when spread out according to wavelength (as done by a prism, for example) comprise a spectrum, as when water droplets turn sunlight into a rainbow.
5 Another wobble method delivered the first new extrasolar planets. It relies on the influence of the Doppler effect on the spectrum of light coming from a star. The Doppler effect, as described in 1842 by Austrian physicist Christian Doppler, is something you are sure to have experienced. It happens anytime an object is moving and emitting waves at the same time. Sounds are waves in the air that we hear, so the sound of a passing car (or an ambulance siren) changes its pitch 9780465021932-text_Layout 1 9/27/11 12:10 PM Page 26 26 THE LIFE OF SUPER-EARTHS because of the Doppler effect: you hear a slightly higher sound as the ambulance approaches, and a slightly lower one after it passes by.