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Dying Planet Leaks Carbon-Oxygen
Topic: New Planets
02/02/04
Using the Hubble Space Telescope to view a star dim, international researchers have identified the first extrasolar planet with a carbon and oxygen signature. While unlikely to be habitable, this gas giant adds to the menagerie of other worlds and their unusual properties.

Gem Sorting for the Next Earth
Topic: New Planets
01/21/04
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.

Twin Planets Survive Solar Blow-Out
Topic: New Planets
01/16/04
Two planets in the constellation Aquarius have been discovered and appear to have survived a catastrophic event in the life of a sun--the inevitable expansion to a red giant. The discovery brings the tally of extrasolar planets found to 118.

Planet First Magnetic Roaster
Topic: New Planets
01/11/04
Among the nearly 120 planets discovered so far, the first one with a magnetic field has some surprising behavior. It's enormous size and close orbit may intertwine its magnetic field with a parent star, such that the planet is heating the sun.

Vega's Likeness for New Planets
Topic: New Planets
12/09/03
Astronomers at the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Councils UK Astronomy Technology Centre (ATC) at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh have produced compelling new evidence that Vega, one of the brightest stars in the sky, has a planetary system around it which is more like our own Solar System.

Lunacy: Finding New Moons?
Topic: New Planets
10/16/03
The technology required to find a planet outside our solar system boggles the imagination: the star itself is typically a billion times brighter than the planet, which gets lost in its host's glare. But with more than one hundred such planets now logged, can a telescope's optics also be refined for the tougher task: to find an extrasolar moon?

Habitability: Betting on 37 Gem
Topic: New Planets
10/09/03
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
09/09/03
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
08/06/03
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
08/04/03
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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