Thursday, April 10, 2008

Smallest Exoplanet Found

Quick on the heels of my earlier note on planet detectors, Universe Today is reporting the smallest exoplanet yet has been discovered. Measuring in at a mere five Earth masses, GJ 436T wss found by a team of Spanish astronomers in the constellation Leo. The planet is far too close to its parent star to harbor liquid water, however, orbiting the star every 5 days.

""I think we are very close, just a few years away, from detecting a planet like Earth," team leader Ignasi Ribas said at a news conference on Wednesday April 9, 2008. The newest planet, "GJ 436T" was discovered by a team led by Ribas through its gravitational pull on other planets already discovered around the same star in the constellation of Leo.

It is only a matter of time before we find the 'Holy Grail' - a small rocky world with liquid water in the habitable zone of another star. We live in very interesting times.

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