This Week's Astronomy from Sky & Telescope Magazine 1-27-2006

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  * * * SKY & TELESCOPE's WEEKLY NEWS BULLETIN - January 27, 2006 * * *

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Welcome to S&T's Weekly News Bulletin. Images, the full stories abridged
here, and other enhancements are on our Web site, SkyandTelescope.com, at
the URLs provided. (If the links don't work directly, just paste them into
your Web browser.) Clear skies!

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LOW-MASS EXOPLANET

Three international groups have teamed up to discover what is probably the
lowest-mass planet ever found around a normal star. The planet's mass is
between 3 and 11 times that of Earth, with a most likely mass of 5.5
Earths. The previous record-holder, which orbits the red-dwarf star Gliese
876, contains about 7.5 Earth masses. The only known exoplanets with lower
masses are four objects orbiting a pulsar -- the collapsed core of a
massive star that went supernova....

> http://SkyandTelescope.com/news/article_1667_1.asp

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SURPRISE! MOST STARS ARE SINGLE

Astronomers have known since the 1700s that a significant fraction of
stars belong to binary or multiple systems. But what is that fraction?
Given the observed fact that most solar-size and larger stars reside in
binaries, many astronomers have concluded that more than half of our
galaxy's stars belong to multiple-star systems.

But a new study shows that the conventional wisdom is almost certainly
wrong. The problem is that astronomers have neglected to consider our
galaxy's most common stellar denizens: red dwarfs. These low-mass,
low-luminosity stars make up more than 80 percent of all the stars in the
Milky Way....

> http://SkyandTelescope.com/news/article_1669_1.asp

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MEADE CEO ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

Steven G. Murdock, Meade Instruments's chief executive officer and the
force behind many amateur-astronomy innovations, has announced his
retirement. He'll stay on as CEO in the coming months as the company hires
his successor....

> http://SkyandTelescope.com/news/article_1665_1.asp

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS WEEK'S SKY

* Saturn (magnitude -0.2, in Cancer) is at opposition (opposite the Sun in
our sky) on January 27.
* New Moon on January 29.
* Jupiter (magnitude -1.9, in Libra) is the very bright "star" in the
south at dawn.

> http://SkyandTelescope.com/observing/ataglance/article_110_1.asp

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Copyright 2006 Sky Publishing Corp. S&T's Weekly News Bulletin is provided
as a free service to the astronomical community by the editors of SKY &
TELESCOPE magazine. Widespread distribution is encouraged as long as our
copyright notice is included, with the words "used by permission." This
bulletin may not be published in any other form without written permission
from Sky Publishing; send e-mail to [email protected] or
call +1 617-864-7360. More astronomy news is available on our Web site at
http://SkyandTelescope.com/news/.

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