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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    825

    Citizen Scientists Discover Four-Star Planet with NASA Kepler

    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/ke...epler-ph1.html

    The discovery of planets continues to expand beyond the domain of professional astronomers. A joint effort of amateur astronomers and scientists has led to the first reported case of a planet orbiting a double-star that, in turn, is orbited by a second distant pair of stars.



    Coined PH1, the planet was identified by the citizen scientists participating in Planets Hunters, a Yale-led program that enlists the public to review astronomical data from NASA's Kepler spacecraft for signs of planets transits distant stars.
    More at link.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    825

    ANOTHER Newly Discovered Planet!

    Earth-sized Planet Found Just Outside Solar System

    http://phys.org/news/2012-10-earth-s...net-solar.html

    (Phys.org)—European astronomers have discovered a planet with about the mass of the Earth orbiting a star in the Alpha Centauri system—the nearest to Earth. It is also the lightest exoplanet ever discovered around a star like the Sun. The planet was detected using the HARPS instrument on the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile.

    "Our observations extended over more than four years using the HARPS instrument and have revealed a tiny, but real, signal from a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B every 3.2 days," says Xavier Dumusque (Geneva Observatory, Switzerland and Centro de Astrofisica da Universidade do Porto, Portugal), lead author of the paper. "It's an extraordinary discovery and it has pushed our technique to the limit!"
    More at link.

  3. #3
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    Jun 2011
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    NASA Statement On Alpha Centauri Planet Discovery

    http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012..._Centauri.html

    "We congratulate the European Southern Observatory team for making this exciting new exoplanet discovery. For astronomers, the search for exoplanets helps us understand our place in the universe and determine whether Earth is unique in supporting life or if it is just one member of a large community of habitable worlds. NASA has several current and future missions that will continue in this search.

    "An example is NASA's Kepler mission. It was specifically designed to survey a specific region of our Milky Way galaxy to detect Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone -- that region around a star where it is theoretically possible for a planet to maintain liquid water on its surface -- and determine the fraction of the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy that might have such planets. Kepler works very differently from HARPS. Rather than detecting the wobble in the host star, Kepler detects the slight dimming of a star when a planet passes in front of it.



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