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hey, check this out

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Down East

Joined: 08 Feb 2006
Posts: 574
Location: Maine & CT, USA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 4:39 pm    Post subject: hey, check this out Reply with quote

My cousin Chris appears in this month's Smithsonian magazine--also in print.

He's a Planet Hunter---Astronomer. They look for planets outside of our solar system.

Click on the thumnail to the farthest right. That's Chris.

What a nice guy, too.

Exerpt from article: (there's more of the article than this...)

"Chris McCarthy, an astronomer at San Francisco State University (SFSU), greets me at a side door. Wearing a small light strapped to his head, he leads me up metal stairways through the dome's interior, kept inky dark for nighttime observations, and into the warm control room. There, Howard Isaacson, an SFSU senior, and Keith Baker, a telescope technician, sit at computer screens amid thick bundles of cables and racks of antiquated electronics. McCarthy and Isaacson chat and sip hot tea while Baker uses his computer mouse to adjust the telescope. Before dawn, the astronomers will gather light from dozens of stars. Some of the stars, they hope, harbor new worlds.

In an era of rovers exploring Mars and space-based telescopes taking dazzling pictures of the cosmos from above the murk of Earth's atmosphere, the routine at Lick—pointing a 47-year-old telescope at star after star for hours on end—feels rather quaint.

Yet these astronomers are members of a team that is the best in the planet-hunting business. Using telescopes in Hawaii, Chile and Australia, as well as those at the Lick Observatory, to monitor about 2,000 stars—most of them quiet and middle-aged like our sun and close enough to Earth for big telescopes to get a clear view of their movements—the team has found about two-thirds of the 200 or so planets discovered outside our solar system so far."
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