Wednesday, June 15, 2005

In the neighbourhood

Astronomers have discovered the first rocky planet orbiting a nearby star; a body between six and eight times the mass of Earth, orbiting Gliese 876, a mere 15 light-years away. And its not alone - it shares its system with two gas giants, discovered in 1999 and 2001 respectively.

It's a little close to its primary, and therefore far too hot, and the gravity would be a killer. But if we can find a planet that small that close, then we may be able to start mapping the systems of even closer stars - and hopefully find something more interesting...