Extrasolar Planets ...and kudos to NowPublic.com
Planetary.org is a very important, highly informative website.
And, NowPublic.com is amongst their options for sharing articles.
Planetary News: Extrasolar Planets (2009)
Only 2 Earth Masses! Scientists Close in on Distant Earths
By Amir Alexander
April 22, 2009
The hunt for distant Earths received a tremendous boost this week with the announcement of two remarkable discoveries in a planetary system 20.5 light-years away. In an article submitted to the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, a group of European astronomers reported the detection of a planet estimated to be only twice the mass of Earth. It is by far the smallest world yet discovered orbiting a faraway star. In the same article the authors also report that additional observations of another planet in the same system place it at heart of its star's "habitable zone," where liquid water is stable.
"The holy grail of current exoplanet research is the detection of a rocky, Earth-like planet in the 'habitable zone' said lead author Michel Mayor of the Geneva Observatory. And while neither of the planets discussed in the article fully answers to this description, their discovery suggests that the detection of other Earths may not be far behind.