An advanced telescopic imaging system that recently started taking data is the first of its kind, capable of not only spotting planets orbiting other stars but also analyzing the chemistry of their atmospheres. The collaborative set of high-tech instrumentation and software, called Project 1640, is now operating on the Hale telescope at the Palomar Observatory in California after more than six years of development. On February 5, 2014, Curator and Chair of the Astrophysics Department, Ben R. Oppenheimer, discussed the first remote reconnaissance of another solar system.


The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s preeminent scientific and cultural institutions. Since its founding in 1869, the Museum has advanced its global mission to discover, interpret and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world and the universe through a wide-ranging program of scientific research, education, and exhibition. The Museum is renowned for its exhibitions and scientific collections, which serve as a field guide to the entire planet and present a panorama of the world’s cultures.