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Amateur astronomers in New Zealand help to discover solar system like ours

blog_scorpius.jpg

So many stars. Somewhere (not necessarily in this shot of an open star cluster in the constellation Scorpius) is the solar system in Scorpius that was discovered.
Image: N. A. Sharp, REU Program, NASA

The New York Times reports -

Astronomers say they have found a miniature version of our own solar system 5,000 light years across the galaxy — the first planetary system that really looks like our own, with outer giant planets and room for smaller inner planets. . .

Among those who provided crucial data and appeared as lead authors of the paper in Science were a pair of amateur astronomers from Auckland, New Zealand, Jennie McCormick and Grant Christie, both members of a group called the Microlensing Follow-Up Network, or MicroFUN. Ms. McCormick, who described herself as “an ordinary New Zealand mother,” said she had done her observing with a 10-inch Meade telescope from a shed in her back yard.

Amateur astronomer Caroline Herschel (scroll to 1780s) was one of the first women to make stellar contributions.

Via Instapundit

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