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Paper: Transiting Extrasolar Planets and SuperWASP
Volume: 420, Bioastronomy 2007: Molecules, Microbes and Extraterrestrial Life
Page: 317
Authors: Anderson, D. R.; SuperWASP Consortium
Abstract: Since 1995 hundreds of planets have been discovered around main sequence stars, some in multiple planet systems. A range of search methods are currently being used or developed. The most successful of these so far has been radial velocity but transit, microlensing, and direct-imaging have also produced results. The transit method is powerful in that many stars can be surveyed at once, and much information is available for transiting planets. This method is now being used extensively on the ground and in space.
SuperWASP (Wide Angle search for Planets) is a ground-based transit survey made up of UK universities. There are two instruments, one on La Palma, Canary Isles, and the other in Sutherland, South Africa, giving near-all-sky coverage. The first two SuperWASP planets were announced at in September 2006. Candidates are currently being identified and followed up using the radial velocity method. It is hoped that there will be more planets to announce soon. COROT began the space-based transit survey era in December 2006 and is already producing results. Over the next few years more satellites will join the effort and with that it is likely Earth-mass planets will be found in the habitable zones of Sun-like stars. The search for life as we know it, and as we don’t, will soon gather pace.
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