University of Hertfordshire leads hunt for new planets

PUBLISHED: 10:13 18 January 2009 | UPDATED: 21:39 26 October 2009

ASTRONOMERS from the University of Hertfordshire are leading the search for undiscovered planets across the galaxy. The Centre for Astrophysical Research (CAR), based at the College Lane campus in Hatfield, is heading a new European collaboration to find

ASTRONOMERS from the University of Hertfordshire are leading the search for undiscovered planets across the galaxy.

The Centre for Astrophysical Research (CAR), based at the College Lane campus in Hatfield, is heading a new European collaboration to find "extra solar planets"; planets around other stars.

The £2.75m project is being funded by the European Commission and will take four years to complete.

The research will focus on the search for rocky planets and "cool stars"; the most common type of star in the galaxy, but one of the hardest to see.

The team will be led by CAR's Dr David Pinfield, who said: "Learning about the diverse range of planetary systems that exist around other stars allows us to better understand our own place in the universe, and will reveal the extent of possible habitats for life elsewhere."

The project will also provide a template for future space based technology to study extra solar planets, Dr Pinfield added.

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