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New spectrographs have recently enabled astronomers to develop, and perhaps this generation may be the first to witness the earliest hints of another Earth could take place as soon as this year.

According to a report from Spectrum IEEE, so far, astronomers have found thousands of exoplanets, and nearly two dozens of them are approximately the size of Earth and orbiting within their stars' so-called "habitable zone" where water, in liquid form, might exist on the surface.

However, none of those exoplanets has been verified as rocky, like Earth, and to orbit a star like a sun. Still, this report said, there is every reason to assume that astronomers will yet detect such a planet in a proximate ratio of the galaxy.

The difficulty in finding it can be summed up in three words: mass, resolution, and contrast. A giant telescope is needed if one tries to spot Earth from hundreds of light-years away.

Specifically, this device helps resolve such a small blue dot sitting in a simple 150 million kilometers from the sun. And the Earth, at below a billionth the sun's brightness, would be hopelessly gone in the glare.

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Science Times - Spectrographs Developed to Detect Other Planets Similar to Earth
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Exoplanet in space

'Spectroscopy'

As indicated in the Spectrum IEEE report, astronomers will discover another Earth initially by exploiting a tool called "spectroscopy," which has been used for the detection of exoplanets since the mid-1990s.

Essentially, an orbiting planet's tug makes its star shake ever so slightly, stimulating a similarly slight and slow shift in the spectrum of the light of a star.

For what's described as a look-a-like of Earth, such a fluctuation is very subtle that there is a need to look for a displacement, gauging just a few atoms across in the rainbow of starlight's pattern on silicon detector, at the center of an ultra-stable vacuum chamber.

In connection to this, a group at Pennsylvania State University, part of a team which NASA and the United States National Science Foundation or NSF, has devised an instrument called NN-explore Exoplanet Investigations with Doppler spectroscopy or NEID, for utilization in Arizona to search the Northern Hemisphere skies.

Meanwhile, a team from Yale University has developed a second instrument known as EXPRES or Extreme PREcision, which will operate in Arizona, too.

The third team, on the other hand, which is led by the University of Geneva and the European Southern Observatory, is commissioning the Echelle SPectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet and Stable Spectroscopic Observations in Chile to search the southern skies.

All three groups are incorporating Nobel Prize-winning technologies in innovative ways to develop pioneering digital spectrographs of femtometer-scale precision.

Their common goal is to attain the most accurate measurements of stellar motions ever tried. The race to detect the elusive "Earth 2.0" is occurring.

NEID

NEID, currently in the race to discover Earth 2.0, enhances the accuracy of Doppler velocimetry by making advances on two fronts at the same time: better calibration and greater stability.

This device's design builds on work done by European astronomers in the 2000s. They are the ones who constructed the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searchers or HARPS, which regulated temperature, vibration and pressure quite well, that if tracked faithfully, the subtle Doppler shifts of the light of a star over years minus sacrificing precision.

Moreover, NEID is combining new technologies with innovative approaches so it could attain unmatched stability in long-term observations.

Related information about spectrographs is shown on Ryo Nobu's YouTube video below:

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