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Canadians help discover new planets

The Story

In 2008, Canadian scientists are among an international team of astronomers who discover three new planets outside our solar system. In this television report from CBC News we find out where the planets are, and what their discovery means to two Canadian astronomers.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Nov. 13, 2008
Guest(s): René Doyon, Andrew Fazekas, Christian Marois
Anchor: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Nancy Wood
Duration: 2:15

Did You know?

• The International Astronomy Union has defined a planet as a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass to assume a nearly round shape and has "cleared the neighbourhood" around its orbit (it is the dominant gravitational force in its area, with no comparably sized bodies nearby other than its own satellites.) In our solar system, eight planets and five dwarf planets are known. But this controversial definition, made at a meeting in Prague in 2006, made Pluto a dwarf planet (a new classification) since it failed to meet the third condition. 


• The IAU also sets conventions regarding the names of stars and planets. Stars, for instance, do not have proper names except for those named by ancient cultures. Most of these names are Latin or Greek in origin with Arabic translations. For example, one of the most familiar constellations, Orion, is named after a mythological Greek hunter. 


• René Doyon, a guest in this clip, was director of the Mont Mégantic Observatory, located 250 kilometres east of Montreal. The observatory was founded in 1978 as a joint effort by the University of Montreal, Laval and McGill universities.




Astronomy: Canadian Stargazers more