Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Four new planets discovered by an amateur astronomer

Never owning a telescope, four new planets were discovered by an amateur astronomer from Rotherham, South Yorkshire in the UK, the Mail Online reports.
Credit for the great discovery goes to Peter Jalowiczor who was able to establish the existence of four gaseous orbs outside our solar system using only two home computers.
The 45-year-old gas worker provided data to the scientists of the Lick-Carnegie Planet Search Team of the University of California who named him as a co-discoverer of planets HD31253b, HD218566b, HD177830c and HD99492c.
Jalowiczor's findings are now published in the Astrophysical Journal, and experts are encouraging ordinary people to discover other heavenly bodies out there.
He spent hundreds of hours during his spare time analyzing space measurements, working with graphs and figures beginning 2007.
The amateur astronomer said of findings, "I've always been interested in astronomy and I have two science degrees but to be one of the officially recognized finders of these planets is just... I get lost for words."
How did he discover planets outside the solar system without a telescope? Does he have bionic eyes?
The report said that by using doppler spectroscopy, Jalowiczor was able to detect the presence of exoplanets--planets that are outside the solar system.
He explains, "I look for faint changes in stars' behaviors that can only be caused by a planet or planets orbiting about them. Once I identify likely candidates, I send the details back to Santa Cruz."
A member of South Yorkshire Mexborough and Swinton Astronomical Society, Jalowiczor humbly says, "It is an honor and privilege to be listed in the journal and I hope that my work will inspire others."
To this day, astronomers have detected 515 exoplanets. The first exoplanet was recorded in 1995.

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