Natural space lens reveals planet

Guest post by Andrew Grant

Using a technique plucked from the toolbox of Einstein’s general relativity, astronomers have uncovered a giant planet circling a sunlike star about 25,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius. Though the planet is probably too large to support life, it orbits in or near the star’s habitable zone  a distance that could enable liquid water to puddle on the planet’s moons, if it has any.

MOA-2011-BLG-293Lb is the first habitable-zone planet detected via gravitational microlen...

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