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Release No.: 2006-14
For Release: Monday, March 13, 2006 - 3:00pm

Super-Earths May Be Three Times More Common Than Jupiters

The discovery of a "super-Earth" orbiting a red dwarf star 9,000 light-years away suggests that such worlds are three times more common than Jupiter-sized planets. The 13-Earth-mass planet (shown in this artist's conception with a hypothetical moon) was detected by a search for microlensing events, in which the gravity of a foreground star distorts the light of a more distant background star. Microlensing is the only way to detect Earth-mass planets from the ground with current technology.

David A. Aguilar (CfA)