Using frequency combs to search for planets

The hunt for Earth-like planets, and perhaps extraterrestrial life, just got more precise, thanks to record-setting starlight measurements made possible by a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) "astrocomb." NIST's custom-made frequency comb -- which precisely measures frequencies, or colors, of light -- ensures the precision of starlight analysis by an instrument called a spectrograph at the Hobby-Eberly Telescope in Texas.


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