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UC planet hunters search the galaxy’s centre

UC planet hunters search the galaxy’s centre

A team of University of Canterbury astronomers have eyes on the universe – 24/7 (weather permitting).

With the help of international researchers and three identical telescopes in Chile, Australia and South Africa, the UC Physics and Astronomy team is helping answer some of the great unknowns about the planets in our galaxy.

For example, how many planets are there around different stars? Do all stars have planets? What type of planets are they? Where are they found in relation to their parent stars?

Using a technique called microlensing, the researchers are able to detect planets orbiting stars near the centre of the galaxy – thousands of light-years away. A Marsden grant of $870,000 is assisting them with this stellar work.

Associate Professor Michael Albrow, Physics and Astronomy, University of Canterbury, discusses his research project, Counting the Number and Distribution of Planets in the Galaxy:


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