College of Charleston professor helps discover new planet - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

College of Charleston professor helps discover new planet

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Hi-Resolution, infrared image of planet. Credit: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. Hi-Resolution, infrared image of planet. Credit: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.

A College of Charleston professor is making news for his part in the discovery of a new planet. Dr Joe Carson says he never made goals for his career, but the most recent discovery is pretty cool. "It's really exciting to be a part of discovering a new world, especially as we are discovering these things more and more. It is helping change our view of the planet system, and our view of the universe and that is exciting to be a part of."

Dr Carson is part of an international team that made the discovery. He says the first sighting was two years ago, with tests and confirmation needed before the official announcement could be made.

According to Carson, the truly amazing thing about the planet is that the star it orbits, is so very similar to our own sun. "It poses some challenges as to how we understand how planets form, and the origins of planets in general, including our own solar system."

"Think of this analogy. It's a little bit like you are looking into your neighbors home for the first time. This system is sort of like a neighbor." Carson explains, "It's a sun-like star, it has a planet system just like us, and maybe if you looked in your neighbors window and you saw their living room, you saw their kitchen, that might not seem that spectacular to you, but if this was your first time ever looking in someone else's house that might be pretty exciting."

The planet, named GJ 504 B after the star it orbits, is 57 light years away.

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