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Astronomers find new planet

Posted on Tuesday, March 14 2006 @ 16:53:41 CET by

Scientists have found a planet outside our solar system last year. The planet is 13 times as big as Earth and is much colder.

The planet was discovered by international astronomers in April but details have only just been revealed in a paper submitted to Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The planet orbits a star about half as big as our Sun, positioned some 9,000 light-years away. At -201C, it is one of the coldest extra-solar planets to be discovered.

Andrew Gould, professor of astronomy at Ohio State University, US, was one of the first people to discover it.

He said the find has two main implications.

"First, this icy 'super-Earth' dominates the region around its star that in our Solar System is populated by the gas-giant planets, Jupiter and Saturn," he said.

"We've never seen a system like this before because we've never had the means to find them.

"And second, these icy 'super-Earths' are pretty common. Roughly, 35% of all stars have them."
More details can be read at BBC.



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