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OF EXTRA SOLAR PLANETS
and their telescopes, funded and supported by NSF, have helped to discover
and identify over two dozen new planets outside our solar system since
In 1991, NSF-funded researchers at Penn State University discovered the
first of three extra solar planets by
using radio telescopes.
Two of these planets are similar in mass to the Earth. The third has roughly
the mass of the moon. Because these planets are orbiting a pulsar, the
collapsed remnant of a supernova explosion, none of them is likely to
New planet discoveries
In 1995, an American team of astronomers independently confirmed by optical
techniques the discovery of a fourth new planet. NSF funded the American
team, consisting of Geoffrey Marcy and Paul Butler.
In 1996, Marcy and Butler announced the optical detection of two more
thus beginning a streak of extrasolar planet discoveries now totaling
more than two dozen and increasing rapidly.
The NSF-funded radio telescopes at Arecibo in Puerto Rico and the Very
Large Array telescope in New Mexico were used to
detect evidence of the planets orbiting pulsars.
Most of the NSF-supported optical detections of extra solar planets by
Marcy and Butler have been made with the Lick telescope at the University
of California and the Keck telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii.