View Full Version : Amateurs Help Discover Extrasolar Planet

2005-Sep-10, 12:58 AM
SUMMARY: Two amateur astronomers from New Zealand, working with a team of astronomers from around the world have helped to discover an extrasolar planet 15,000 light years from Earth. They used a technique known as gravitational microlensing, which occurs when a massive object (like a star or even a black hole) passes in front of a more distant star; its gravity bends and focuses light like a lens. The team noticed that the closer star had a strange pattern of distortion to its light that indicated a planet. This method could be used to find much smaller, even Earth-sized, planets.

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