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HD 156668b
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Astronomers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and other institutions, using the highly sensitive 10-meter Keck I telescope atop Hawaii's Mauna Kea, have detected an extrasolar planet with a mass just four times that of Earth. The planet, which orbits its parent star HD156668 about once every four days, is the second-smallest world among the more than 400 exoplanets (planets located outside our solar system) that have been found to date. It is located approximately 80 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Hercules.
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RE: HD156668b
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Astronomers in the United States have detected the second smallest planet discovered to date, with a mass just four times heavier than the Earth, adding to a growing number of low-mass planets dubbed ''super-earths''.

''This is quite a remarkable discovery'' - Andrew Howard, an astronomer at the University of California at Berkeley.


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Second smallest exoplanet found to date discovered at Keck

Planet hunters using Keck Observatory have detected an extrasolar planet that is only four times the mass of Earth. The planet is the second smallest exoplanet ever discovered and adds to astronomers' growing cadre of low mass planets called super-Earths.

"This is quite a remarkable discovery. It shows that we can push down and find smaller and smaller planets" - astronomer Andrew Howard of the University of California at Berkeley.

He announced the discovery at the 215th American Astronomical Society meeting held Jan. 4-7, 2010 in Washington D.C. Dubbed HD156668b, the planet orbits its parent star in just over four days and is located roughly 80 light years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Hercules.

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Position(2000): RA 17 17 40.4898, Dec  +29 13 38.015

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