April 1, 2008

No Joke: 10 New Exoplanets for April 1st!

WASP-3b: One of the Extrasolar planets discovered by SuperWASP. WASP-3b is one of hottest exoplanets ever detected. It was discovered in 2007.
No, this is not an April fools day joke: 10 new Exoplanets have just been discovered by the SuperWASP (Wide Area Search for Planets) team. The SuperWASP technique involves two sets of cameras to watch for events known as transits, where a planet passes directly in front of a star and blocks out some of the star's light. From the Earth the star temporarily appears a little fainter.
The SuperWASP cameras work as robots, surveying a large area of the sky at once. Each night astronomers receive data from millions of stars. They can then check for transits and hence planets. The transit technique also allows scientists to deduce the size and mass of each planet.
A total of 46 planets have been found to transit their stars. Since they started operation in 2004, the SuperWASP cameras have found 15 of these. SuperWASP is the most successful transit survey in the world.
After they formally announce their findings at the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy meeting in the U.K. on Wednesday, April 2, I will then add the names of the new extrasolar planets into the Exoplanetology Catalogue on Freebase.
This is wonderful news for the field of Exoplanetology! Way to go SuperWASP!

link: Eurekalert

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