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Dr Lorenzo Pino of the University of Amsterdam’s Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy has successfully applied to perform a research project with the famous Hubble Space Telescope. He will be awarded time to use the telescope to study the metallicity of exoplanets.

The Hubble Space Telescope, as seen from Space Shuttle Discovery. Image: NASA
The Hubble Space Telescope, as seen from Space Shuttle Discovery in 1997. Image: NASA

NASA / ESA’s Hubble space telescope was launched in 1990, and is one of the most famous telescopes that orbit the earth. Hubble's orbit outside the distortion of Earth's atmosphere allows it to take extremely high-resolution images with substantially lower background light than ground-based telescopes. It has proven to be vital for astronomical research, for instance, in determining the expansion rate of the universe.

Since so many astronomers want to use this telescope, only a small percentage of these proposals is indeed rewarded. Pino receives time for the coming academic year. He will use the Hubble space telescope to, for the first time, determine the abundance of the element iron in an exoplanet.