Wednesday, May 15, 2013

'Einstein's Planet': New Alien World Revealed by Relativity

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New Alien World Revealed by Relativity

By Clara Moskowitz

      Einstein's special relativity has proven more useful than ever, as scientists have now used it to discover an alien planet around another star.

The newfound world — nicknamed "Einstein's planet" by the astronomers who discovered it — is the latest of more than 800 planets known to exist beyond our solar system, and the first to be found through this method.

The planet, officially known as Kepler-76b, is 25 percent larger than Jupiter and weighs about twice as much, putting it in a class known as "hot Jupiters." The world orbits a star located about 2,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus.

The researchers capitalized on subtle effects predicted by Albert Einstein's special theory of relativity to find the planet. . . .

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