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Latest Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment Stories

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2006-03-14 00:05:00

Cambridge, MA -- Astronomers have discovered a new "super-Earth" orbiting a red dwarf star located about 9,000 light-years away. This newfound world weighs about 13 times the mass of the Earth and is probably a mixture of rock and ice, with a diameter several times that of Earth. It orbits its star at about the distance of the asteroid belt in our solar system, 250 million miles out. Its distant location chills it to -330 degrees Fahrenheit, suggesting that although this world is similar in...

2006-01-25 13:15:00

By Deborah Zabarenko WASHINGTON -- A new planet-hunting technique has detected the most Earth-like planet yet around a star other than our sun, raising hopes of finding a space rock that might support life, astronomers reported on Wednesday. "This is an important breakthrough in the quest to answer the question 'Are we alone?"' said Michael Turner of the National Science Foundation. "The team has discovered the most Earth-like planet yet, and more importantly, has demonstrated the...

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2006-01-25 12:35:00

NASA -- Using an armada of telescopes, an international team of astronomers has found the smallest planet ever detected around a normal star outside our solar system. The extrasolar planet is five times as massive as Earth and orbits a red dwarf, a relatively cool star, every 10 years. The distance between the planet, designated OGLE-2005-BLG-390Lb, and its host is about three times greater than that between the Earth and the Sun. The planet's large orbit and its dim parent star make its...

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2005-05-31 07:15:00

EDP -- Fifty years after his death, Albert Einstein's work still provides new tools for understanding our universe. An international team of astronomers has now used a phenomenon first predicted by Einstein in 1936, called gravitational lensing, to determine the shape of stars. This phenomenon, due to the effect of gravity on light rays, led to the development of gravitational optics techniques, among them gravitational microlensing. It is the first time that this well-known technique has...

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2005-05-23 15:28:13

Cambridge, MA -- For the first time, amateur and professional astronomers have teamed up to discover a new planet circling a distant star. The planet was detected by looking for the effect of its gravitational field on light from a more distant star, a technique known as microlensing. It is only the second world to be discovered using the microlensing technique. Gravitational microlensing offers the potential for detecting Earth-mass planets using existing or near-future technologies. "This...

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2005-03-03 07:45:00

Very Large Telescope Finds Planet-Sized Transiting Star ESO -- An international team of astronomers have accurately determined the radius and mass of the smallest core-burning star known until now. The observations were performed in March 2004 with the FLAMES multi-fibre spectrograph on the 8.2-m VLT Kueyen telescope at the ESO Paranal Observatory (Chile). They are part of a large programme aimed at measuring accurate radial velocities for sixty stars for which a temporary brightness "dip"...