Ever-keener detection apparatus leads to the discovery of more and more planets outside our solar system
By Matt RansfordPosted 06.23.2008 at 11:50 am 4 Comments
When it launches in 2009, NASA's Kepler Mission will include the most sensitive detection system ever put into service for discovering exosolar planets. In the meantime, our toolkit on Earth is getting better with each passing year. Astronomers using the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) at La Silla Observatory in Chile have discovered three new rocky planets orbiting a single star, all within ten times the size of Earth.
Scientists find two gas giants orbiting a star, and with it up the chances of our discovering another Earth
By Matt RansfordPosted 04.14.2008 at 12:34 pm 11 Comments
Less than fifteen years ago, the concept of an extrasolar planet orbiting a star much like our own was only a theory. Since that time, we've discovered nearly 300 extrasolar planets in all, but have consistently failed to find systems which orbit around stars resembling the sun. Today, the BBC is reporting on a find by astronomers from St. Andrews University of two gas giants on par with Saturn and Jupiter in orbit around a star half the size of our sun. While the finding is not a direct link to a system similar to ours, it does present an increased likelihood that our system is not unique.