Narrator: This is Science Today. For the
first time, astronomers have witnessed a distant
planet passing in front of its star. Geoff Marcy,
a professor of astronomy at the University of California,
Berkeley, says this is the first direct confirmation
of their existence.
Marcy: What we have found now, is a planet
that just be luck, crosses in front of the star
and in so doing, the planet actually blocks some
of the light that normally would come to us from
the star and because of that blocking of light,
the star dims. And you can see this in a telescope.
Narrator: Marcy and his colleagues were then
able to discover this planet's mass is smaller than
our own Jupiter, but its diameter is much larger.
Marcy: It's amazing, but the theoretical
astrophysicists had predicted that planets close
to their host stars should be puffed out - bloated
out by the heat generated by the star hitting the
planet. And sure enough, this planet is indeed is
bigger. This shows that in fact their theories are
right and perhaps they really do understand the
interiors and the atmospheres of as yet, unseen
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.