Forget simply detecting a slight “dip” in brightness as an exoplanet transits in front of its star, soon we’ll be able to image the event. What’s more, by doing this we’ll see that exoplanetary transits look exactly like the historic Venus transit that wowed the world on Tuesday.
This is according to astronomer Gerard van Belle, of Lowell Observatory near Flagstaff, Ariz., who hopes to use an interferometer to carry out the mind-blowing goal of capturing the silhouettes of exoplanets drifting in front of distant stars. But that’s not all, this whole effort may help us track down the first bona fide Earth-like alien world.
Image: Left: A photograph of the Venus transit on June 5, 2012 (Ian O’Neill). Right: An artist’s impression of an exoplanet transit (ESO).