CoRoT satellite announces 10 new planets

14 June 2011

An international team, including Oxford University scientists, has discovered ten new planets. Amongst them is one orbiting a star perhaps only a few tens of million years old, twin Neptune-sized planets, and a rare Saturn-like world.

The planets were detected using the CoRoT (Convection, Rotation and Transits) space telescope, operated by the French space agency CNES. It discovers planets outside our solar system – exoplanets – when they ‘transit’, that is pass in front of their stars.

Out of the ten new exoplanets (CoRoT-16b through to 24b and c) seven are hot Jupiters some of which are unusually dense and/or on unusually elongated orbits, and one is in orbit around an unusually young star. The announcement also includes a planet slightly smaller than Saturn, and two Neptune-sized planets orbiting the same star.

The new finds were announced on 14 June at the Second CoRoT Symposium, held in Marseille. Dr Suzanne Aigrain of Oxford University’s Department of Physics, who is the lead UK exoplanet scientist for CoRoT, will also present them on June 15th at a seminar at the Institute of Physics in London.

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