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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Six Strange New Worlds
24 June 1998 1:00 pm
Scientists are claiming to have discovered six new planets around stars outside the solar system, almost doubling the number known. The putative planets, each having roughly the mass of Jupiter, all seem to move in rather elliptical orbits--an observation that has theorists scratching their heads.
Details of the sightings became widely available on 23 June, when Jean Schneider of the Observatoire de Paris in France posted them on his Web site, the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia (wwwusr.obspm.fr/planets/). Many of the results are expected to be announced at a meeting on Protostars and Planets, to be held in Santa Barbara, California, from 5 to 12 July.
The findings appear to challenge theories about how planets form. "We had thought that objects of this mass would form on circular orbits,'' says Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, developing as the agglomeration of many small objects whose orbits would average out into a circle.
The detections of the new planet candidates were all made with the "Doppler" technique, in which the wobble of the parent star toward and away from an observer is recorded. According to Schneider, three possible planets were spotted by a team led by Martin Kurster, using the European Southern Observatory in La Silla, Chile. Michel Mayor of the Geneva Observatory, Didier Queloz of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and colleagues spotted three others, one of which was also seen by Geoff Marcy of San Francisco State University, Paul Butler of Anglo Australian Observatory, and Steven Vogt at University of California, Santa Cruz, using the 10-meter Keck Telescope in Hawaii.