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Hunting for the Ideal Coronagraph to Discover Earth 2.0

The search for Earth 2.0, a planet similar to our own in terms of habitability and potential for life, is one of the most exciting quests in the field of astronomy. Scientists have long been studying exoplanets, planets that exist outside our solar system, but the challenge lies in the overwhelming brightness of the host star that often obscures the view of these distant worlds.

Coronagraphs, devices that attach to telescopes and block out the light from the host star, are essential tools in this search for Earth 2.0. Both the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the Nancy Grace Roman Telescope are equipped with coronagraphs to help astronomers study exoplanets more effectively. However, current coronagraph technology is not yet capable of directly imaging Earth-like planets due to the limitations of the devices.

A recent paper published by researchers from the University of Arizona delves into the quantum techniques that may pave the way for more advanced coronagraphs capable of detecting Earth-like exoplanets. Coronagraphs were originally designed to study the corona of the Sun, the outermost layer of the Sun’s atmosphere that is typically obscured by the bright light emitted from the visible layer known as the photosphere. These devices have since been adapted to block out the light from stars and study faint objects in their vicinity, including exoplanets.

Direct imaging of exoplanets is crucial in understanding their nature and characteristics, but the challenge lies in the vast difference in brightness between the host star and the planet. Coronagraphs work by optically removing the light from the star to enhance the signal from the exoplanet. The researchers in the recent study explored the effectiveness of coronagraphs in detecting Earth-like exoplanets and found that quantum-optimal coronagraphs could significantly improve the detection capabilities.

By applying quantum mechanics to the study of exoplanets, the researchers were able to set a limit on the resolution of telescopes in detecting and localizing exoplanets. The research highlighted the importance of completely rejecting the telescope’s optical mode to achieve the best detection techniques. The results suggest that with the development of quantum-optimal coronagraphs, astronomers may soon be able to detect Earth 2.0 and other similar exoplanets with greater precision and accuracy.

The quest for Earth 2.0 continues to inspire astronomers and researchers around the world as they push the boundaries of technology and science to uncover the mysteries of our universe. With advancements in coronagraph technology and the application of quantum mechanics, we may soon be on the brink of a groundbreaking discovery that could change our understanding of the cosmos forever.

Source: Achieving Quantum Limits of Exoplanet Detection and Localization

In conclusion, the search for Earth 2.0 and the development of advanced coronagraph technology are at the forefront of astronomical research, offering a glimpse into the potential for life beyond our solar system. As scientists continue to push the limits of technology and exploration, the discovery of Earth-like exoplanets may be closer than we ever imagined.

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Forest Lawn Drive now free of RV encampment and parking

Nancy Sexton was thrilled when city crews cleared out more than 50 RVs in December that had been parked near her business for months, blocking parking spots and leaving behind trash and waste on Forest Lawn Drive.

Then she realized the long stretch of road near Barham Boulevard in the Hollywood Hills was suddenly off limits for not just parked RVs, but all parked vehicles. Much of the curb was painted red. No parking signs lined the sidewalk.

“It’s a dumb decision,” said Sexton, who owns the Muse Rooms, which offers leased office spaces. “It’s frustrating.”

The more than 50 RVs, which had been stationed along the winding road for months as a semi-permanent living encampment, were removed in December as part of the city’s operation known as Inside Safe. One goal of the program, which is part of Mayor Karen Bass’ initiative to bring people living on the streets indoors, is to end the cycle of homeless encampments being cleared by the city only to return a few weeks later.

But days after the RVs were removed, Sexton said, the curb was painted red and parking was limited. The new red zone is about a quarter mile long, running between Warner Bros. Studios’ Gate 9 entrance and North Coyote Canyon Drive.

The areas that do allow parking, meanwhile, have two-hour limits.

City officials also said the decision to restrict parking was done out of fire safety concerns, not to keep the RVs from resettling along the road. Sexton has her doubts.

The lack of parking along the street suddenly imposed a new, unexpected expense on her clients, prompting some to look elsewhere. The red curb has also become an irritation for some students and workers at the New York Film Academy and businesses nearby.

A road with RVs lining its right side.

RVs are parked on Forest Lawn Drive on June 27, 2023, in Burbank.

(David McNew/Getty Images)

Since the no-parking signs went up, Sexton said, she’s lost two regular members and two potential clients. All of them had aired concern about the lack of street parking and the added expense of paying $12 a day at the parking structure on site.

The parking fee, Sexton said, doubled the monthly costs for some members.

“I didn’t know how much of a problem it was going to be until there were people saying, ‘I can’t pay $12 a day,’ ” she said. “I’m really feeling it now.”

The situation highlights some of the unintended results as city officials look to address homelessness and the concerns of businesses and homeowners affected by makeshift encampments, whether they involve tents, vehicles, or both.

RV encampments have sprung up across the city amid a housing crisis that has left many people priced out of permanent homes. Local officials have looked for ways to address the issue, including new regulations that have targeted overnight RV parking.

According to the mayor’s office, the Inside Safe program has addressed 39 encampments so far, moving more than 2,400 people into interim housing and an additional 440 into permanent housing since December 2022.

Bass spokesperson Zach Seidl said the RVs that were removed from Forest Lawn Drive were themselves causing parking issues in the area, as well as raising other significant safety and public health concerns.

Members of the surrounding community have said removing the RVs “has helped on all three fronts,” Seidl said in a statement. “This operation has saved lives.

Stella Stahl, spokesperson for Councilmember Nithya Raman, said the city has helped many of the RV residents along Forest Lawn Drive to find housing indoors.

In a statement, Stahl credited the decision to limit parking to a request by the Los Angeles Fire Department, which called the area a “high fire severity zone.” A 2019 brush fire in the area burned more than 30 acres and threatened homes and businesses.

In a Sept. 19, 2023, letter, LAFD Assistant Chief Dean Zipperman asked the city Department of Transportation to install “Tow Away No Stopping Any Time” restrictions on the road due to the stopped and parked vehicles there.

To avoid the hassle of looking for parking, cinematography students Sanchin Vinay, Yifan Xiang, and Davide Picci carpool to their classes at the New York Film Academy, which shares a building with the Muse Rooms. Eliminating the RVs has opened some spots to them, although Picci said they’d been able to find spaces on the street before — “really far down.”

A couch on a sidewalk near an RV.

The curb along Forest Lawn Drive, where someone has left a couch.

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Sometimes they pay the $12 for the daily parking to avoid being late for class. Carpooling helps cushion the cost.

Leslie Bates, a film production instructor, said she heard of students and faculty members having “volatile” interactions with the RV residents.

Now that the RVs have

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