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Tasmanians Discover Humongous Gas Planet

David Utter
Expert Author
Published: 2005-05-24

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Toward the center of the Milky Way galaxy, Australian scientists make a really big astronomical discovery.

The planet, estimated by University of Tasmania professor John Dickey to be possibly ten times the size of Jupiter, was discovered in concert with other telescopes around the world.

According to an ABC Online report, a gravitational lens event occurred, an event similar to an eclipse. But instead of a star being blocked by an object, the light of the background star gets magnified.

Scientists hope that the process, designed to find gas giant planets like Jupiter and this discovery, can be refined to seek out Earth-like planets next. One estimate places the odds of making a discovery like this at 10 million to one.

The discovery has been labeled OB-05-071, and resides about 15,000 light years away from Earth.

Congratulations to the scientists on their discovery. Said Professor Dickey: "Finding out how many stars have planets, and then how many have Earth-mass planets, will help to figure out how likely intelligent life is within our galaxy."



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