Trawling for Extrasolar Planets
Astronomers used this inexpensive telescope to find an extrasolar planet transiting the face of a Sun-like star 600 light-years from Earth. The telescope, which looks like a pair of binoculars, consists of two 200-millimeter telephoto camera lenses. The lenses are attached to electronic devices that measured slight dips in light output from the star, indicating that an object was crossing in front of it. The telescope is on the summit of the Haleakala volcano in Hawaii.
Research team members are P.R. McCullough, J.E. Stys, and J.A. Valenti (Space Telescope Science Institute); C.M. Johns-Krull (Rice University); K.A. Janes (Boston University); J.N. Heasley (University of Hawaii); B.A. Bye and C. Dodd (University of Illinois); S.W. Fleming (University of Florida); A. Pinnick (Boston University); R. Bissinger (Racoon Run Observatory); B.L. Gary (Hereford Arizona Observatory); P.J. Howell (Boston University); and T. Vanmunster (CBA Belgium Observatory).