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January 25, 2012

Discovery of Super-Earth Planet (Image 1)

The MEarth Project telescopes at Mount Hopkins, Ariz. Astronomers used these telescopes to discover a super-Earth orbiting GJ1214, a dim, red dwarf star located 40 light-years away.

MEarth (pronounced "mirth") is an array of eight identical 16 inch-diameter RC Optical Systems telescopes that monitor a preselected list of 2,000 red dwarf stars. Each telescope perches on a highly accurate Software Bisque Paramount and funnels light to an Apogee U42 charged-coupled device chip, that many amateurs also use.

To learn more, see the NSF Discovery story Waterworld Discovered Transiting a Nearby Star. [Research supported by National Science Foundation grant AST 08-07690.] [Image 1 of 3 related images. See Image 2.] (Date of Image: 2009)

Credit: Dan Brocious, Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

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