From: Stig Agermose <email@example.com> Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 08:47:23 +0200 Fwd Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 16:51:54 -0400 Subject: New Planets Discovered Source: The Hindustan Times http://www.hindustantimes.com/nonfram/150602/detFOR01.asp Stig *** 27 new planets discovered USA Today ** European and US astronomers on Thursday announced the discovery of two solar systems with planets in orbits similar to our own. In all, astronomers announced they had found 27 previously unknown planets, bringing the number of known planets orbiting nearby stars to more than 100. One group led by Geoffrey Marcy of the University of California- Berkeley and Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, DC, released details of 15 planets. A European team led by Swiss astronomer Michel Mayor of the University of Geneva unveiled details of 12 more, several days ahead of a planned announcement at a science meeting. "There must be billions of planetary systems like our own within our Milky Way galaxy," Marcy says. His team found that the star 55 Cancri hosts a Jupiter-like planet occupying a near-circular orbit, much like Jupiter's. The planet, a giant ball of gas, takes about 14 years to circle 55 Cancri, a star 41 light-years away in the constellation Cancer. A light year equals 5.89 trillion miles. Marcy's team calculates that a planet like earth could safely orbit 55 Cancri without disturbance from planets orbiting the star. The European team also reports on a different solar system with a planet that resembles Jupiter in size and its circular orbit. Astrobiologists say solar systems whose outlying gas giants follow near-circular orbits might be more likely to have planets with life. In theory, the Jupiter-like objects would screen smaller planets closer to their star from comet impacts. ** =A9Hindustan Times Ltd. 1997.
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