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august 7, 2000 |
planetary systems in the univers

At the International Astronomical Union XXIVth General Assembly, astronomers report discovery of three new *extrasolar planets* , plus hints of many multi-planet systems. Astronomers are beginning to see patterns, including hints that many extrasolar planets may have siblings.

To date, only one Sun-like star has been found with multiple planets: Upsilon Andromedae, around which the same team discovered three planets last year. Marcy, Butler, Fischer and their colleagues -a team of astronomers based at the University of California, Berkeley- are monitoring about 900 stars in the northern sky using the University's Lick Observatory in California and the Keck Observatories in Hawaii, plus another 200 in the southern sky with the Anglo-Australian Telescope.

They look for wobbles that indicate a planet may be circling the distant sun.

To date they have discovered 30 extrasolar planets, including three reported today. In all, there are now 44 known stars with planets or planetary systems, excluding our own.

"We're now at a stage where we are finding planets faster than we can investigate them and write up the results," Marcy said. "It's wonderful. Planet-hunting has morphed from the marvelous to the mundane."
Astronomers report discovery of three new extrasolar planets, plus hints of many multi-planet systems
Planetary systems in the universe : IAU XXIVth General Assembly Talks
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