Home Technology Astronomers discover two extrasolar planets

Astronomers discover two extrasolar planets

By Xinhua

Washington : Researchers from 11 countries have discovered two extrasolar planets, each with a mass less than that of Jupiter, orbiting a star about half the size of our Sun.

The new discovery was reported on Thursday and will be published on the Feb. 15 issue of journal Science.

Although there has been a flurry of extrasolar planet discoveries in recent years, most of the planets have been massive bodies much larger than the giants of our own solar system.

But the new duo, along with their sun, resembles a scaled-down version of our solar system in their relative sizes and orbital separation, reported the research team. The astronomers called the two extrasolar planets a Jupiter/Saturn analog.

The planets were detected with a technique called gravitational microlensing, where starlight is bent or warped by the gravitational pull of the planets.

The new planets are the fifth and sixth to be discovered by microlensing, and the technique may reveal other planetary systems similar in scale to our solar system throughout the Milky Way, say the research team.