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Wobble Boffins!

My friend and collaborator Andrew Howard just published an amazing paper in Science (abstract only, full article costs $$). The paper, on which I am proud to be a coauthor, came out Thursday and has attracted a lot of attention from both the astronomy community and the public. This is primarily because in it we provide the first estimate of the frequency of Earth-sized planets around other stars, often referred to as "eta Earth," after the Greek letter in the Drake Equation. We estimate that about 1 in 4 stars has an Earth-sized planet!

The results are from the NASA-UC Eta-Earth survey that we have been conducting over the past 5 years at Keck Observatory.

The results have quickly made their way out into the realm of popular science. Here's my favorite:

Alien Earthlike worlds 'like grains of sand', say 'wobble' boffins

I'm going to start listing "Wobble Boffin" as my job description on my CV! Andrew has an excellent quote describing our methodology:
"We studied planets of many masses - like counting boulders, rocks and pebbles in a canyon - and found more rocks than boulders, and more pebbles than rocks. Our ground-based technology can't see the grains of sand, the Earth-size planets, but we can estimate their numbers," says Andrew Howard, boss scientist of the team conducting the study.
So there you have it, from the Boss Boffin himself :)

Comments

blissful_e said…
Love it! "Wobble Boffin" is a great descriptor. :)
Amy P said…
Boffin. Not to be confused with Bothan.

That's pretty dang awesome! I like it when your stuff makes it to popular science, because then I have a better shot at understanding it. In this case, even more so because he used rock analogies. :)
mama mia said…
gotta get a copy of Science!
mama mia said…
never mind, I googled it

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