Exoplanet pioneers share Nobel Prize

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brian livesey
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Exoplanet pioneers share Nobel Prize

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The first exoplanet to be discovered orbits the orange star 51 Pegasi. This star is easy to locate and observe in binoculars. The discoverers were the Swiss astronomers Michel Mayor of the University of Geneva and Didier Queloz, based at Cambridge University.
The exoplanet discoverers have been awarded the Nobel prize, which they share with Canadian-American astronomer James Peebles. The Royal Swedish Academy said that the discovery of 51 Pegasi b in 1995 had "transformed our ideas about the cosmos". Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, said, "The study of exoplanets is perhaps the most vibrant field of astronomy. We now know that most stars are orbited by retinues of planets; there may be a billion planets in our galaxy resembling Earth."
There are many exoplanet searches going on now, and research is being focused on the study of exoplanet atmospheres, to detect the gases associated with the possible presence of life on them. Professor Queloz said," I cannot believe we are the only living entities in the universe. The chemistry that led to life is everywhere, so I'm a strong believer that life must be everywhere."

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