Keele astronomers push worldwide exoplanet tally over 1000

Oct 24, 2013

As reported by BBC News, the total number of extra-solar planets known through the efforts of worldwide astronomers has just passed 1000. Keele astronomers pushed it over that number by announcing 12 new planets from the WASP (Wide Angle Search for Planets) survey.

Keele University operates the WASP-South survey cameras, scanning the night skies and watching for small dips in the light of a star when a planet passes in front of ("transits") the star. The new announcements include WASP-100 and WASP-101, the hundredth and hundredth-and-first planets found by the WASP team.

The WASP planets are "hot Jupiter planets", large Jupiter-size gaseous planets in tight orbits around their stars, transiting every few days. Among its 100 planets, WASP has found the largest known planet, the shortest-period hot Jupiter, the first planet found in a retrograde orbit, and planets spiralling into destruction on their host star.

Professor Coel Hellier, who leads the WASP-South teams says: "The WASP planets will be a mainstay of exoplanets research for decades. Astronomers worldwide are studying our planets."

The WASP project is the most successful of the teams searching for transiting exoplanets from ground-based observatories. The main competition is NASA's Kepler mission, which uses the same techniques but from space. As WASP announces numbering up to WASP-101, Kepler has found planetary systems as far as Kepler-88. The Kepler satellite recently stopped operating owing to a fault in its guidance system. Currently, WASP-South is continuing to scan the night sky, every clear night, from South Africa's Karoo desert.

Explore further: POLARBEAR detects curls in the universe's oldest light

More information: BBC News link about 1000 exoplanets www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24549384

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Astronomers see misaligned planets in distant system

Oct 17, 2013

Using data from NASA's Kepler space telescope, an international team of astronomers has discovered a distant planetary system featuring multiple planets orbiting at a severe tilt to their host star.

Huge new planet tells of game of planetary billiards

Aug 12, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A team of scientists has found a new planet which orbits the wrong way around its host star. The planet, named WASP-17, and orbiting a star 1000 light years away, was found by the UK's WASP ...

Found: Planets skimming a star's surface

Oct 11, 2013

A new planet-hunting survey has revealed planetary candidates with orbital periods as short as four hours and so close to their host stars that they are nearly skimming the stellar surface. If confirmed, these candidates ...

Einstein's exoplanet

May 27, 2013

(Phys.org) —Eight hundred and eighty nine exoplanets (planets around stars other than our Sun) have been discovered to date. Most of them were found using the Kepler satellite, which spots small dips in ...

Recommended for you

Big black holes can block new stars

12 hours ago

Massive black holes spewing out radio-frequency-emitting particles at near-light speed can block formation of new stars in aging galaxies, a study has found.

POLARBEAR seeks cosmic answers in microwave polarization

12 hours ago

An international team of physicists has measured a subtle characteristic in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background radiation that will allow them to map the large-scale structure of the universe, ...

New radio telescope ready to probe

15 hours ago

Whirring back and forth on a turning turret, the white, 40-foot dish evokes the aura of movies such as "Golden Eye" or "Contact," but the University of Arizona team of scientists and engineers that commissioned ...

Exomoons Could Be Abundant Sources Of Habitability

Oct 20, 2014

With about 4,000 planet candidates from the Kepler Space Telescope data to analyze so far, astronomers are busy trying to figure out questions about habitability. What size planet could host life? How far ...

Partial solar eclipse over the U.S. on Thursday, Oct. 23

Oct 17, 2014

People in most of the continental United States will be in the shadow of the Moon on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 23, as a partial solar eclipse sweeps across the Earth. For people looking through sun-safe filters, from Los Angeles, ...

User comments : 0