Begins the search for planets similar to Earth

05.04.2004

05.04.2004


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In the near future, astronomers will begin a new project to find planets like Earth around other stars. To do so would be to use the network of telescopes located in different countries.

An international group of astronomers led by Jean-Philippe Beaulieu (Jean-Phillipe Beaulieu) of the Astronomical Institute in Paris (Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris) and Dominic Martin (Martin Dominik) from the University of St. Andrews (University of St Andrews).

Over the past decade, with the effect of the impact on the movement of the planets stars, discovered more than 100 planets circling around nearby stars. But this method is sensitive enough to detect only large planets the size of Saturn.

A small planet can be detected by changes in the brightness of stars, what is happening at a time when the planet passes in front of its disc.

The project is named "Planet" (Planet — Probing Lensing Anomalies Network), that is — "the network investigates anomalous lensing."

Star temporarily appears brighter than it actually is, if the light is distorted by gravity passing through the line of sight of the body.

If the last object — this is another star, strengthening lasts about a month. And if there is a world the size of Earth around this second star then the planet can be found in the curve of brightness fluctuations.

The "Planet" will examine thousands of stars. "If 20% of these stars are surrounded by planets, within three years, we expect to find 10-15 giant planets and one or two worlds the size of Earth" — said Dr. Dominic.

02.04.2004

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