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Astrometry nabs an exoplanet

Long-proposed search method finally finds what it’s been looking for

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12:23pm, June 1, 2009

Researchers for half a century have tried — and failed — to use the motion of stars moving across the sky to discover planets that lie beyond the solar system. Now a team has finally used the method, known as astrometry, to find one of these orbs. The newfound extrasolar planet, six times heavier than Jupiter, orbits the low-mass star VB 10 some 20 light-years from Earth, report Steven Pravdo and Stuart Shaklan of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., in an upcoming Astrophysical Journal.

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