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Coming Soon: "Good Jupiters"
Topic: New Planets
Most of the extrasolar planets discovered to date are gas giants like Jupiter, but their orbits are either much closer to their parent stars or are highly eccentric. Planet hunters are on the verge of confirming the discovery of Jupiter-size planets with Jupiter-like orbits.

Cosmic Cowboy
Topic: New Planets
A brand of researcher can now breathe life into the aura of a patient nomad who searches the horizon for signs of a new world. McDonald Observatory astronomer Bill Cochran discusses how a West Texas telescope has begun chalking up discoveries of extrasolar planets.

The Search for More Earths
Topic: New Planets
When astronomers first realized that the stars in the sky were like our Sun, only more distant, they wondered if those stars had planets too. And if they have planets, is there life? Intelligent life? There's an answer - yes or no - but we don't know it yet.

Young Planet Challenges Old Theories
Topic: New Planets
The Spitzer Space Telescope has detected youngest planet ever found, claim NASA scientists. Planets are thought to take millions of years to form after a star is born, but discovery of a million-year old star with planet already in orbit around it means scientists may have to rethink planetary formation models.

New Planet, Magnified
Topic: New Planets
The gravity of a star can act as a lens, focusing and intensifying the light of a star behind it. The combined light from the two stars causes that point in the night sky to suddenly appear much brighter. For the first time, a planet has been discovered using this "gravitational microlensing." technique.

Gem Sorting for the Next Earth
Topic: New Planets
Which star is most like our own Sun? This intriguing question offers a chance to test hypotheses about what places might make for a good Earth-like, habitable planet. The best found so far may well be the 37th most westerly star in the constellation, Gemini, called 37 Gem.

Habitability: Betting on 37 Gem
Topic: New Planets
What star meets the current best guesses for habitability? This fascinating question is part of an ongoing research survey, in preparation for NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder mission. The answer, according to the largest such classification so far attempted, is the 37th brightest star in the constellation, Gemini.

Discovering New Worlds
Topic: New Planets
Few modern scientific adventures can rival what is currently the task of those discovering new planets. While most of the hundred or so new worlds found so far have been found using the planet's inferred influence on its parent star's gravitational wobble, a few have been discovered as the planet eclipses its own star.

Star Bright: Part II
Topic: New Planets
In Part I of this article, the differences between typical stars, brown dwarfs and sub-brown dwarfs were discussed. Stars have a mass of 75 Jupiters or greater, brown dwarfs have a mass between 13 and 75 Jupiters, and sub-brown dwarfs are less than 13 Jupiter masses.

Star Bright: Part I
Topic: New Planets
Starlight aside, one way to distinguish between stars and planets is to have them weigh in. Stars need a hefty amount of mass to fuse hydrogen, while planets are mere dust motes in comparison. But over past few years, astronomers found planetary-mass objects that may have been born as stars.
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