Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ten new planets discovered

Posted by shalini at 9:03 AM

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An international team, including scientists from the University of Oxford, has discovered 10 new planets. Amongst them is one orbiting a star perhaps only a few tens of million years old, twin Neptune-sized planets, and a rare Saturn-like world, a release by the University of Oxford said on Wednesday

The planets were detected using the CoRoT (Convection, Rotation and Transits) space telescope, operated by the French space agency CNES.

It discovers planets outside our solar system — exoplanets — when they ‘transit’, that is pass in front of their stars. Out of the 10 new exoplanets (CoRoT-16b through to 24b and c) seven are hot Jupiters ,some of which are unusually dense and/or on unusually elongated orbits.

It also includes a planet slightly smaller than Saturn, and two Neptune-sized planets orbiting the same star.


Dr Suzanne Aigrain of Oxford University’s Department of Physics, lead UK scientist for CoRoT, said: “CoRoT-18b is special because its star might be quite young. Finding planets around young stars is interesting because planets evolve very fast initially, before settling into a much steadier pattern of evolution.”

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