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Fraser
2004-Aug-24, 08:19 PM
SUMMARY: Planet hunting has traditionally only been possible with very large telescopes, capable of detecting tiny changes around distant stars which indicate the presence of planets. But now a team of astronomers have found their first extrasolar planet using a 4-inch telescope essentially developed with off-the-shelf equipment. The new Jupiter-sized planet is located about 500 light-years away, and was discovered using the transit method, which looks for a dip in a star's brightness as a planet passes in front. The team surveyed 12,000 stars in an area half the size of the Big Dipper's bowl, and turned up 16 candidates for planets. Follow up observations with larger observatories confirmed which ones had planets, and which didn't.

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Planetwatcher
2004-Aug-24, 10:16 PM
My goodness, finding a Jupiter sized planet at 500 LY with a 4 inch scope.
That puts exo-planet hunting within the grasp of back yard astronmers.
You sure that wasn't 40 inch?

It wasn't so long ago when Marcy and Butler using the most powerful scopes on Earth to detect the absolute smallest perturbsions possible between the planet and it's parent star.

kashi
2004-Aug-24, 10:44 PM
I bet Dave Mitsky had something to do with this....

astronomy2004
2004-Aug-24, 11:32 PM
Originally posted by kashi@Aug 24 2004, 10:44 PM
I bet Dave Mitsky had something to do with this....
:lol: he always has something to do with it :)

sarahnade_me
2004-Aug-25, 01:31 AM
So exciting!!!! I'm going to the store tomorrow to get a 4 inch telescope. Then I'm going far away from here. :P how long did it take them to find it? When y'all find out who did it let me know.

sarah in Texas

Hermes
2004-Aug-25, 04:02 AM
I thought that current theory of Solar system development confined Gas giants to the outer reaches. When the proto star "ignites" all gas in the inner system is swept
away only leaving the heavy elements of the rocky planets. Not to mention the continuous action of the solar wind on the inner system.
How do the discovers conjecture that the planet is a Gas Giant when it is so close to its star? Doesn't this imply a rethink of planetary evolution if they are correct?

Planetwatcher
2004-Aug-25, 05:16 AM
How do the discovers conjecture that the planet is a Gas Giant when it is so close to its star? Doesn't this imply a rethink of planetary evolution if they are correct? That is exactly what has been happening in the last few months.
2 hot planets seen close to parent star (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/printer_two_hot_planets_orbiting_close.html)

I thought that current theory of Solar system development confined Gas giants to the outer reaches. When the proto star "ignites" all gas in the inner system is swept
Most of the exo-planets found have been quite close to the parent star when compaired to our solar system. In fact we are finding out that our little corner here is more the exception to the rule, rather then the rule itself.
This alone makes it so much more interesting.

But now the transit method is becoming more reliable.

So exciting!!!! I'm going to the store tomorrow to get a 4 inch telescope. Then I'm going far away from here. how long did it take them to find it? When y'all find out who did it let me know.
It proabley took quite a while. You have to keep a suspected star under nearly constant observation, and have attached to your scope some very sensitive instruments which will detect the very minute and brief dimming of the star as the planet passes in front of it from our vantage point.

Basicly you are looking for a mini-eclipse of a star, not unlike when Venus made it's transit accross our Sun earlier this year.

But I'll echo astronomy2004, and Kashi, and almost bet Dave Mitsky has the proper equipment, and wouldn't be surprised if he made the find. :blink:
If so, he's being awful shy about it. ;)

astronomy2004
2004-Aug-25, 12:20 PM
:lol:

sarahnade_me
2004-Aug-26, 05:40 AM
I really was kidding...I already have a telescope :) Well, i had my first honest to goodness astro lab at our community college. I tried to ask him about this but I'm gonna have to wait until next class.

Sarah in Texas