The Automated Planet Finder (APF), a robotic telescope located at Lick Observatory, has discovered three new planets around a near-by star. These planets, or Super-Earths, have a mass seven to eight times that of Earth; while most planets discovered outside of our solar system have been the size of Neptune or larger, the APF purposefully targets smaller planets around nearby stars in efforts to find habitable planets.
The APF’s unique automated function enables the telescope to take on graveyard shifts to provide assistance in the search of exo-planets; this unique design is slated to assist with a complete survey of nearby stars over the next few years.
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