Europe’s PLATO to Hunt for Earth Look-Alikes

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A new space observatory expected to launch by 2024 will seek out Earth-sized planets and super-Earths orbiting distant stars, the European Space Agency announced Wednesday.
Dubbed “PLATO,” for “PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars,” it will use 34 small telescopes and cameras to search for planets around as many as a million stars spread over half the sky. It will monitor those stars for tiny, regular dips in brightness as their planets transit in front of them, temporarily blocking out a small fraction of the starlight.
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