New York's Cornell University has just unveiled a stunning catalog of the solar system designed to help researchers "uncover the mysteries of exoplanets."
Put together by astronomers Jack Madden and Lisa Kaltenegger from the Carl Sagan Institute at the university, the catalog is comprised of the known spectra and albedos (or the ratio of reflected light) of an assortment of planets, dwarf planets, and moons all across the solar system.
All in all, the new catalog features 19 bodies in our solar system, celebrating its wonderful diversity by showcasing both rocky and gaseous planets, icy and volcanic moons, as well as two dwarf planets.
Shining brightly in the pages of the catalog are all the eight planets and nine moons, along with dwarf planets Ceres, located in the asteroid belt stretching between Mars and Jupiter, and Pluto, nestled in the Kuiper belt beyond the orbit of Neptune.
Cornell refers to these spectral and albedo data as the "light-fingerprints" and hopes that the catalog will guide astronomers in their search for exoplanets and aid in many new discoveries.
"With this catalog of light-fingerprints, we will be able to compare new observations of exoplanets to objects in our own solar system — including the gaseous worlds of Jupiter and Saturn, the icy worlds of Europa, the volcanic world of Io and our own life-filled planet," Kaltenegger said in a statement.