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Name: cristi m carpenter
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1993 - 1999


Question:
Where are the new planets that were discovered located, how many are there, what observatory and what research team worked on this project, was the team that filmed the Astronomer's Searching For Planets on the right track or involved with the discovery?


Replies:
The new planet settings were, I think, indirect settings around another star. You will have to look up in the library for the other parts of your question. New telescopes are being constructed to allow more such studies.

Samuel P Bowen


The existence of at least two (and possibly as many as four) planets in orbit around the pulsar designated PSR1257+12, in the constellation Virgo, was deduced from slight irregularities in the output of this pulsar due to gravitational "tugs" by the unseen planets. The discovery was made by a team hea ded by Alexander Wolszczan of Penn State University; the team was assisted by Dale Frail of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, WV. They used the 305-meter radio dish at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico to make their measurements. I r eally doubt that these astronomers were looking for planets.

I didn't see the episode of "The Astronomers" that I believe you are referring to, but it is also written about in the companion book. These astronomers have been looking for possible planet-forming disks of material surrounding certain stars. One candidate mentioned in this chapter (and presumab ly in the TV version) is the star Beta Pictoris. Recently a group of French astronomers reported observations of this star's dust disk that suggest that there are one or more planets within the disk, circling the star. If confirmed, it will indicate that yes, the astronomer s filmed in the series were indeed on the right track.

RC Winther



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