Stargazing Live has announced the remarkable discovery of four new planets – the biggest discovery in the show’s history.
The FremantleMedia programme asked ABC viewers to analyse data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope to uncover potential new planets.
ABC claimed four new planets orbiting a yellow parent star in the constellation of Aquarius, 600-light years away. The planets are each between two and three times the size of Earth.
Professor Brian Cox says, “I couldn’t be more excited about these discoveries – in the seven years I’ve been making Stargazing Live this is the most significant scientific discovery we’ve made. The results are a wonderful and intriguing surprise.”
“It’s wonderful that Stargazing Live viewers in Australia have made such an interesting discovery,” said Professor Chris Lintott, Professor of Astrophysics, University of Oxford.
“The discovery of such an unusual system, with four planets crammed together, will help us test our ideas about how planets are made – a question which has profound implications for understanding the history of our own Earth.”
More than ten thousand viewers logged on to abc.net.au/stargazing to help analyse the data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, in collaboration with the Zooniverse project and with scientists at the University of California Santa Cruz and at Caltech.
Michelle Guthrie, Managing Director said: “This incredible discovery showcases the pivotal role the ABC plays in building interest in and engagement with science issues – amongst not just Australia’s scientific community, but our everyday citizen scientists.
“The breadth of content across the week on TV, Radio, iview and online, complementing this high quality and highly engaging TV program is strong evidence that ABC’s science programming is of both wide and specialist appeal, educating and informing Australians about scientific news, research and innovations.”