Scientists find 28 new planets beyond our solar system
The world's leading team of planet-hunters has announced the discovery of 28 new
planets outside our solar system. They are among 37 objects outside our solar
system found to orbit distant stars. Seven of the objects are confirmed brown
dwarfs - failed stars much more massive than the largest planet - and two are
borderline and could be small brown dwarfs or large planets.
Jason Wright of the University of California announced the team's results
yesterday at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in
Honolulu. "Taken together, in the last year our teams have increased the number
of known planets by 12% and shown that at least 30% of stars known to host
planets have more than one object orbiting."
He explained his team's success as a testament to the advances in observing
technology. "Planet hunting is getting much more sophisticated. Our primary
technique, observing the small, reflex motions of a star as a planet orbits it,
has improved greatly in the past 15 years. Today we can detect changes in the
motion of some stars of only one metre per second." Scientists were getting to
the stage that, if they were observing our own solar system from afar, their
telescopes could detect Jupiter. They have recorded more than 200 planets
outside our solar system.
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