Date: 1993 - 1999
Has anyone ever discovered a planet outside the
solar system? If so, can you tell me about it? I am a fifth
grader and am interested in astronomy. Thank you.
Yes. I know of one discovery: a planet has been discovered around a
pulsar (a rotating neutron star that emits regular pulses of
radiation). No one has seen the planet but its existence has been inferred by
studying the orbit of the pulsar and variation ( minute) in its pulses. The
planet is very massive, even more massive than Jupiter.
As the pulsar and planet orbit around each other, the pulsar approaches us and
then recedes away from us. We observe regular changes in the frequency of
pulses. This is roughly similar to the change in tone of a car horn as the car
first approaches you and then recedes.
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Update: June 2012