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Latest High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher Stories

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2010-12-01 12:50:00

The atmosphere around a super-Earth exoplanet has been analyzed for the first time by an international team of astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope. The planet, which is known as GJ 1214b, was studied as it passed in front of its parent star and some of the starlight passed through the planet's atmosphere. We now know that the atmosphere is either mostly water in the form of steam or is dominated by thick clouds or hazes. The results will appear in the 2 December 2010 issue of the...

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2010-08-24 08:20:00

Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have discovered five planets orbiting a star in what is being called by the AFP news agency "the biggest discovery of so-called exoplanets since the first was logged 15 years ago." The ESO astronomers discovered the planetary system around a sun-like star called HD 10180. Using the HARPS spectrograph, they also reportedly discovered evidence which suggests that there may be two additional planets present in orbit around the celestial...

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2010-03-17 13:15:00

Combining observations from the CoRoT satellite and the ESO HARPS instrument, astronomers have discovered the first "normal" exoplanet that can be studied in great detail. Designated Corot-9b, the planet regularly passes in front of a star similar to the Sun located 1500 light-years away from Earth towards the constellation of Serpens (the Snake). "This is a normal, temperate exoplanet just like dozens we already know, but this is the first whose properties we can study in depth," says Claire...

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2009-12-16 13:50:00

Astronomers have discovered the second super-Earth exoplanet [1] for which they have determined the mass and radius, giving vital clues about its structure. It is also the first super-Earth where an atmosphere has been found. The exoplanet, orbiting a small star only 40 light-years away from us, opens up dramatic new perspectives in the quest for habitable worlds. The planet, GJ1214b, has a mass about six times that of Earth and its interior is likely to be mostly made of water ice. Its...

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2009-11-11 14:30:00

"For almost 10 years we have tried to find out what distinguishes stars with planetary systems from their barren cousins," says Garik Israelian, lead author of a paper appearing this week in the journal Nature. "We have now found that the amount of lithium in Sun-like stars depends on whether or not they have planets." Low levels of this chemical element have been noticed for decades in the Sun, as compared to other solar-like stars, and astronomers have been unable to explain the anomaly....

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2009-10-19 10:35:00

Recent discoveries by astronomers have brought the official number of planets outside of our solar system to over 400. The team that constructed the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) reported the discovery of 32 new planets outside our galaxy. HARPS is a spectrograph that is attached to the European Southern Observatory's telescope in La Silla, Chile. Using the spectrograph, scientists are not able to gather images of planets, but they are able to make observations based...

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2009-09-16 05:45:00

Mass and density of smallest exoplanet finally measured The longest set of HARPS measurements ever made has firmly established the nature of the smallest and fastest-orbiting exoplanet known, CoRoT-7b, revealing its mass as five times that of Earth's. Combined with CoRoT-7b's known radius, which is less than twice that of our terrestrial home, this tells us that the exoplanet's density is quite similar to the Earth's, suggesting a solid, rocky world. The extensive dataset also reveals the...

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2009-04-21 08:30:00

Astronomers claim to have discovered an exoplanet that is the most similar to Earth in terms of mass than any previously discovered. Found in the constellation Libra, the planet known as Gliese 581 represents about twice the mass of Earth. Astronomers have previously identified some 300 exoplanets, but most are much larger than Earth. "This is by far the smallest planet that's ever been detected," said Michael Mayor, from the Geneva Observatory, Switzerland. "This is just one more step in the...

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2009-04-20 09:08:16

Astronomers have announced plans to build an ultra-stable, high-precision spectrograph for the Science and Technology Facilities Council's 4.2-m William Herschel Telescope (WHT - part of the Isaac Newton Group or ING on La Palma) in an effort to discover habitable Earth-like planets around other stars. Dr Ian Skillen of the ING will present the new High Accuracy Radial-velocity Planet Search "“ New Earths Facility (HARPS-NEF) spectrograph in a poster on Monday 20th April at the European...

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2009-03-24 08:45:00

ESO's La Silla Observatory, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, became the largest astronomical observatory of its time. It led Europe to the frontline of astronomical research, and is still one of the most scientifically productive in ground-based astronomy. With about 300 refereed publications attributable to the work of the observatory per year, La Silla led the forefront of astronomy. La Silla has led to an enormous number of scientific discoveries, including several "firsts". The...


Word of the Day
tessitura
  • The prevailing range of a vocal or instrumental part, within which most of the tones lie.
This word is Italian in origin and comes from the Latin 'textura,' web, structure.