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Berlin a “Hotspot of planetary research”

Image Credits: Yeon Joo et al./Nature Communications

Berlin is an important location for worldwide research in the fields of “exoplanets, planetary surfaces, compositions, and atmospheres”. This is how the newspaper TAGESSPIEGEL describes the work of scientists at the “Zentrum für Astronomie und Astrophysik” (TU Berlin), at the institute for planetary sciences and remote sensing (FU Berlin), and at the institute for planetary research at the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

The article “Hotspot of planetary research” (30.11.2020) explains, among other things, how researchers like our SPP 1992 coordinator Prof. Heike Rauer (TU/FU Berlin, DLR) and international colleagues try to unravel data about exoplanets. Dr. Nisha Katyal (TU Berlin), a PostDoc in a Collaborative Research Center funded by the German Research Foundation (TRR 171), quoted as follows:

“In early times, the rocky planet Earth was covered by glowing hot magma oceans. We want to understand how our early atmosphere changed to create habitable conditions. In this way, we can elucidate our own origins and also interpret the fascinating data that exoplanet research is currently collecting in the search for the second Earth.”

Also mentioned are Dr. Yeon Joo Lee (TU Berlin) and one of our project’s PIs Antonio García Muñoz and their work on brightness modulations of Venus, which has produced exciting results as Dr. Yeon Joo Lee said (recently published in Nature Communications):

“Until now, it was assumed that the frequently changing brightness differences indicate the rotation speed of the planet and the diameter of the atmosphere. However, according to our precise measurements and calculations, this is by no means compelling.”

Such results are particularly exciting because at the moment only such indirect measurements allow clues about, e.g., the potential atmospheres of exoplanets.

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