U.K. Amateur Astronomers Find New Planet
January 23, 2012 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
OXFORD, England, Jan. 20 (UPI) — Two British amateur astronomers have discovered a new planet and will have it named after them, scientists said.
Chris Holmes and Lee Threapleton spotted it during a project to find planets beyond our solar system, and if other astronomers confirm it, the planet, thought to be gaseous and about the size of Neptune, will be named “Threapleton Holmes B.”
The pair were examining an image from NASA’s Kepler space telescope posted online at Planethunters.org, an Oxford University scheme that enlists the public to look through data in the hope of making such discoveries, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.
Holmes and Threapleton identified patterns that suggested a planet appeared to be orbiting a sun called SPH10066540, which lies between 600 and 3,000 light-years away.
The pair said they were true amateurs.
“I’ve never even had a telescope,” Holmes said. “I’ve had a passing interest in where things are in the sky, but never had any more knowledge about it than that.
“Being the one to find something is a very exciting position.”