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The planet, known as 2M1207B, is about five times the size of Jupiter and is orbiting at a distance nearly twice as far as Neptune is from our Sun. ... What everybody wants is a direct image of a rocky planet like Earth circling another star. But this will not come until we get the next generation of super-telescopes capable of resolving such small, faint objects.


 extrasolar planet
Astronomers say they are now confident that a planet orbiting a star some 500 light-years away is rocky.
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Astronomers have announced a haul of planets found beyond our Solar System. The 32 "exoplanets" ranged in size from five times the mass of Earth to 5-10 times the mass of Jupiter, the researchers said.


 extrasolar planet planet
Astronomers may have found a way to identify those Sun-like stars most likely to harbour orbiting planets.
 toread extrasolar planet lithium
The E-ELT (European Extremely Large Telescope) will have a primary mirror 42m in diameter. Astronomers say the next-generation observatory will be so powerful it will be able to image directly rocky planets beyond our Solar System. It should also be able to provide major insights into the nature of black holes, galaxy formation, the mysterious "dark matter" that pervades the Universe, and the even more mysterious "dark...


 E-ELT telescope astronomy Chile Europe extrasolar planet
Although the parent star is much cooler than the Sun, the planet orbits 13 times closer to the star than Mercury's orbit around the Sun. That means the surface must be a blazing hot 300° C or more, keeping water in its atmosphere in vapour form. But the high pressures in the planet's interior would compress the water so much that it would stay solid even at hundreds of degrees Celsius - the expected temperatures inside the planet.


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