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Aleksander Wolszczan

From Academic Kids

Aleksander Wolszczan (b. 1946 in Szczecinek, Poland) is a Polish astronomer. Discoveror of first extrasolar planets and pulsar planets.

Biography

Educated in Poland he moved in 1982 to the USA to work at Cornell University in Ithaca and Princeton University. Later he became an astronomy professor at the Pennsylvania State University. Concurrent with that appointment, since 1994 he has been a professor at the University in Toruń and a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN).

He carried out astronomical observation in the Arecibo Observatory which led him to the discovery of the pulsar PSR B1257+12 in 1990. The data analysis gathered thanks to the discovery showed that the pulsar is orbited by two planets with mass 3.4 and 2.8 times that of Earth's mass. Their orbits are 0.36 and 0.47 AU respectively. This planetary system was the first extra-solar system discovered in the Universe whose existence was proved.

Wolszczan published his findings in 1992 and 1994. In spite of initial misgivings of some experts today his discovery is regarded as fully substantiated.

In 1996, Wolszczan was awarded the Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize by the American Astronomical Society.

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External Links

pl:Aleksander Wolszczan

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