Sunday, October 08, 2006

Hubble finds 16 extrasolar planet candidates

I am intrigued by adventures and discovery in space, and this story attracted me. As I may have mentioned before, I hope to be an astrophysicist in my next life.

The European Space Agency says in a recent press release, "The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has discovered 16 extrasolar planet candidates that are orbiting a variety of distant stars. In accomplishing this, Hubble looked farther into our Milky Way galaxy than has ever successfully been done before in searching for extrasolar planets.

The Hubble observations reach all the way into the central bulge of our galaxy, 26,000 light-years away, or one-quarter the diameter of the Milky Way’s spiral disk.

This tally is consistent with the number of planets expected to be uncovered from such a distant survey, based on previous exoplanet detections made in our local solar neighbourhood that only encompasses six percent of the Milky Way’s disk.