World’s most powerful planet-finder turns skyward with help from UCLA astronomers – EIN News January 14, 2014Posted by sandyclaus in Drake Revisited.
The Infrared Laboratory for Astrophysics was founded by professor of physics and astronomy Ian S. McLean, who directs the lab. McLean and UCLA astronomy professor Michael Fitzgerald are co-investigators on the Integral Field Spectrometer, and McLean, Fitzgerald and Larkin are all faculty members in the UCLA College of Letters and Science.
The Gemini Planet Imager, or GPI, is a powerful tool for studying dusty, planet-forming disks around young stars. It is the most advanced instrument of its kind to be deployed on one of the world\’s biggest telescopes, the 8-meter Gemini South telescope in Chile.
\”Even these early first-light images are almost a factor of 10 better than the previous generation of instruments,\” said Bruce Macintosh of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who led the team that built the GPI and who in 1994 earned the first Ph.D. from UCLA\’s Infrared Laboratory. \”In one minute, we are seeing planets that used to take us an hour to detect.\”