An international team of astronomers, including experts from the University of Michigan, Georgia State University, University of Grenoble, and the University of Exeter, are using a ground-breaking new infrared imager to carry out research regarding how planets form. The imager, called MIRC-X, is a redesign of MIRC which was previously developed by U-M astronomers led by John Monnier.
MIRC-X utilizes all six telescopes from the CHARA telescope array on Mt. Wilson in California, thereby harnessing the power of a 330-metre telescope. The research team is hopeful that the images MIRC-X has recorded will help to shed light on what the solar system looked like 4.5 billion years ago, as well as lead to a better understanding of how planets form.
“Whenever astronomers have turned on a machine that is an order-of-magnitude more capable than earlier generations and pointed it at the sky, they discovered exciting new things about the universe,” said U-M professor John Monnier. “I hope the same will be true with our new instrument.”