Extrasolar planets are way out there. But we've detected them, and we're going to keep hunting 'em down to find one just like ours.
There's no place like home...or is there? Until just a few years ago, it was uncertain whether there were any other planets like earth in the cosmos. Now, scientists believe if earth could form in one place, it must be able to form elsewhere, too. In fact, there's strong belief there must be other planets like earth out there. Teams of planet hunters are looking for one that's small enough to be regarded as earth-like. And they've recently found some smaller than any discovered before.
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Paczynski: "The goal is to find planets that are as similar as possible to our earth."
That's Princeton University astrophysicist Bohdan Paczynski. He's team leader of the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment -- OGLE-- a project that tracks changes in starlight intensity using a fifty-inch telescope located in Chile.
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The tool is helping planet hunters expand their search to include thousands of stars up to 5000 light years away.
In the next decade, scientists expect hundreds more planets will be revealed. Maybe even a habitable one like our own. I'm Eric Phillips.
"Imagine That!" covers projects funded by the U.S. government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you by you! Learn more at nsf.gov.