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The McDonald Observatory's Hobby-Eberly Telescope.


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McDonald Observatory.
Hobby-Eberly Telescope.

Observatory Finds Its First Planet.

The McDonald Observatory's Hobby-Eberly telescope has found its first extrasolar planet. The planet is 2.84 times of the mass of Jupiter, and orbits star HD 37605 every 54.23 days. The discovering team used the "radial velocity" technique, where the star's velocity toward and away from the Earth is measured to determine the mass of the planet. The observatory is well-equipped to find planets because of its High Resolution Spectrograph instrument, which can measure the composition of objects with great precision.

Blue Moon on July 31.

A blue moon is a fairly rare event that happens when there are two full moons in a single month. Since the Moon's cycle lasts 29 days, and most months are 30 or 31 days long, it can happen - usually every 30 months or so. Since there was a full moon on July 2, the next one will happen on July 31. Of course, the Moon won't actually turn blue - it's just a saying.

Solar Blast Reaches the Outer Solar system.

The twin Voyager spacecraft, located at the edge of the solar system, have detected the effects of the most powerful solar storm ever detected, that blasted off the Sun in October/November, 2003. Thanks to a fleet of spacecraft, including Cassini, Mars Odyssey and the Voyagers, NASA scientists have been able to get a comprehensive view of how storms travel across the solar system. They hope that when the storm crashes into interstellar gas in a few more months, it will emanate radio waves detectable here on Earth.

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