NASA discovers 122 new eclipsing binary stars

In a groundbreaking survey, researchers have discovered 122 new eclipsing binary stars.

Updated: Apr 22, 2011, 22:03 PM IST

Washington: In a groundbreaking survey using NASA``s Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory, or STEREO, researchers have discovered 122 new eclipsing binary stars and observed hundreds more variable stars.

Teams from the Open University, University of Central Lancashire and the Science and Technologies Facilities Council Rutherford Appleton
Laboratory carried out the study.

"It``s inspiring to learn that STEREO, which was designed to teach us more about the Sun``s influence on our solar system, is able to detect other solar systems," said STEREO project scientist Joseph Gurman at NASA``s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

"STEREO``s Heliospheric Imagers were designed for stable, accurate
measurements to allow us to subtract out the stellar background and see faint coronal mass ejections --- but that same stability allows us to make the incredibly precise measurements necessary to detect such small changes in the brightness of stars," said Gurman.

The findings were presented at the Royal Astronomical Society``s National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, Wales, on April 19.