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Fraser
2006-Oct-05, 12:51 AM
The Hubble Space Telescope has identified 16 stars that could have extrasolar planets. The discoveries were made as part of a new Hubble survey, called the Sagittarius Window Eclipsing Extrasolar Planet Search (SWEEPS). This survey looked at 180,000 stars in the central bulge of the Milky Way - 26,000 light years away. The discovery was made using the transit method, where planets dim their parent stars slightly as they pass in front. Further observations will be needed to actually calculate the mass of the transiting planets.

Read the full blog entry (http://www.universetoday.com/2006/10/04/hubble-finds-distant-extrasolar-planets/)

antoniseb
2006-Oct-05, 11:58 AM
One thing that is interesting to me about this study is that the stars observed were in the central bulge, which are mostly much older stars than the Sun, and yet had the metalicity to form planets. This says something about the early period of our galaxy's formation.

John Mendenhall
2006-Oct-05, 03:01 PM
Oh my. Planets, planets, everywhere, but not one yet to live on.

Excellent point, Antoniseb. This finding will probably give the planet formation specialists a headache.

RUF
2006-Oct-18, 02:26 AM
The older stars would be the red dwarves mentioned in the article, and these small, cooler stars allow the planet "candidates" to be closer to the star and orbit more rapidly.

If the stars were larger, and the candidates further away, the chance of seeing a transit would be smaller unless the stars were studied for a longer period of time.

I believe there are even more planets about, and they may be orbiting larger, younger stars.