planet hunters have been preoccupied with hot Jupiters—giant, gaseous planets
that tightly hug their sunlike parent stars. These massive, close-in planets,
not yet directly seen, are the easiest to find because they induce the largest
wobble in the motion of the stars they orbit. But now astronomers are following
a rockier road—seeking rocky, icy planets only a few times as massive as Earth.
Soon, astronomers predict, they will discover an Earth-sized planet that orbits
within the habitable zone of its parent star. And if David Charbonneau has any
say about it, that historic find will come from eight tiny telescopes his team
has just finished assembling at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory on
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