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2004 News Releases
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How Microlensing Works

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The following animation demonstrates the principles of microlensing. The observatory on Earth sees the source (distant) star when the lens (closer) star and planet pass through the center of the image. The inset shows what may be seen through a ground-based telescope. The image brightens twice, indicating when the star and planet pass through the observatory's line of sight to the distant star.

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Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Discovery Location

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This animation shows the location of the new discovery near the center of our Milky Way galaxy. The images span a 120-day period in which the star became much brighter due to microlensing. There were two spikes in brightness, indicating that the passing star had a planet in orbit around it. The "lens" or foreground star and planet are 17,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius, while the background star is 24,000 light-years away.

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Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Artist Depiction

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This animation is an artist's rendering of the planet, believed to be one-and-a- half times larger than Jupiter, orbiting a red dwarf, its parent star. The distance between the star and planet is three times the distance between Earth and the Sun.

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Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Discovery Image

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The following image is part of the data used to make the discovery of a planet around another star. The picture comes from the 1.3-meter (4.3-foot) Warsaw telescope at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile.

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Image credit: Las Campanas Observatory