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Press Release 06-014

Closer to Home

Discovery of small, rocky, extrasolar world suggests such planets may be common

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ESO artist's rendition of the newly discovered extrasolar planet

European Southern Observatory artist's rendition of the newly discovered extrasolar planet

Credit: European Southern Observatory


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Participants at the live webcast in the studio and on screen.

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On Jan. 25, 2006, NSF hosted a media briefing to present the findings from a new type of planet discovery. Webcast live, the briefing featured NSF Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences Michael Turner, David Bennett, an astrophysicist with the PLANET research collaboration and the University of Notre Dame, Jean-Philippe Beaulieu of PLANET and the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, France, and Scott Tremaine of Princeton University.

For more information about the webcast, see: http://www.nsf.gov/news/newsmedia/planet06/.

Credit: Patrick Olmert, National Science Foundation

 

NASA/ESA/STScI rendition of the newly discovered extrasolar planet

This artist's illustration shows an icy/rocky planet orbiting a dim star. Astronomers detected an extrasolar planet five times as massive as Earth circling a relatively cool red dwarf star. 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 likely surface temperature a frigid minus 364 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 220 degrees Celsius).

Credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)


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This animation explains gravitational microlensing.

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This animation explains gravitational microlensing.

Credit: Trent Schindler, National Science Foundation

 

This animation explains how gravitational microlensing detects planets.

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This animation explains how gravitational microlensing detects planets.

Credit: Andrew Williams, University of Western Australia / David Bennett, University of Notre Dame

 

Artist's impression of the newly found exoplanet

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This video depicts a computer animation of the newly discovered planet and its star plus explanatory information from researchers at the European Southern Observatory.

Other versions of the video are available here.

Credit: ESO