32 new planets discovered!

32 previously unknown exoplanets have been discovered with a high-precision instrument hooked up to a Chilean telescope…

The existence of the so-called exoplanets — planets outside our solar system — was announced at the European Southern Observatory/Center for Astrophysics, University of Porto conference in Porto, Portugal, according to a statement issued by the observatory.

The announcement was made by a consortium of international researchers, headed by the Geneva Observatory, who built the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher, or HARPS. The device can detect slight wobbles of stars as they respond to tugs from exoplanets’ gravity. That tactic, known as the radial velocity method, “has been the most prolific method in the search for exoplanets,” according to the European Southern Observatory statement.

The instrument detects movements as small as 3.5 km/hr (2.1 mph), a slow walking pace, the observatory said.

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Comments

  1. #1 IanW
    October 21, 2009

    How do you know they’re extra solar planets? Maybe they’re just a part of the original complement…!

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