Celebrity keyboardist and astronomer Professor Brian Cox has just wound up his three-part Stargazing Australian special in spectacular style.
More than 7000 amateur astrony volunteers jumped in for 48 hours to help Cox trawl through 100,000 stars on the Zooniverse website.
Dr Chris Lintott, the principal investigator of Zooniverse, said that was the equivalent of “a single astronomer working for a couple of years straight, no coffee breaks, no nipping to the loo”.
And probably because they were Australian, our space geeks did it best. They found four Super Earths.
“In the seven years I’ve been making Stargazing Live this is the most significant scientific discovery we’ve ever made,” Cox said.
“The results are astonishing,”
The planets are roughly twice the size of the Earth and orbiting a star in the Aquarius Constellation 600 light years away. One is whipping around it in three and a half days.
The fact they were all crammed close to the star could mean there are more planets further out, Lintott said.
Who actually found the new solar system is still a mystery, as all participants are simply listed as co-authors on a scientific paper to be published about the discovery.