Finding New Planets
Name: cristi m carpenter
Date: 1993 - 1999
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?
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.
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Update: June 2012