Jun 2, 2008

The 45 new exoplanets mystery thickens...

Following my report of a possible hoax on Wikipedia "Extrasolar planets" article, the entry has now been altered to this :
"2008, announcement of 45 new planet candidates
On May 20, Christophe Lovis of the HARPS team at an international meeting in Boston, Massachusetts announced 45 new planets orbiting around nearby stars, all with masses less than one-tenth Jupiter mass. These were detected by the gravitational tug method using the HARPS located in La Silla, Chile. The discoveries represented a significant increase in the numbers of known super-earths. Astronomers suggest that such low-mass planets may outnumber the Jupiter-like planets by 3 to 1.[51] While the announcement is not yet official (more data are needed to confirm the candidates), some news media picked up the story."

It is fascinating to note that both the date and the author of the discovery have now changed (see my former post)...It seems that the publication method is very unorthodox. Hello SCIENCE !

Anyway, if it is then confirmed that it is not a hoax, it means that the number of exoplanets will suddenly undergo a 15%+ increase to around 330...and ALL super-earths ! Woaw ! I predicted a dramatic increase in the research, but this is now exponential ! Good job HARPS ! I'm happy to pay these taxes !
It also means I noticed an extremely ephemeral wikipedia entry...
I'm praying it is not a hoax...

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