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News Release 81 of 215

May 18, 2006 01:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2006-22

Astronomers Use Innovative Technique to Find Extrasolar Planet

May 18, 2006: An international team of professional and amateur astronomers, using simple off-the-shelf equipment to trawl the skies for planets outside our solar system, has hauled in its first "catch." The astronomers discovered a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting a Sun-like star 600 light-years from Earth in the constellation Corona Borealis. The team, led by Peter McCullough of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., includes four amateur astronomers from North America and Europe.

This artist's impression shows a dramatic close-up of the extrasolar planet, called XO-1b, passing in front of a Sun-like star 600 light-years from Earth. The Jupiter-sized planet is in a tight four-day orbit around the star.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and P. McCullough (STScI)