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Stéphane Udry (born 1961 in Sion, Switzerland) is an astronomer at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, whose current work is primarily the search for extra-solar planets. He and his team have recently discovered a possibly terrestrial planet in the habitable zone of the red dwarf star Gliese 581, approximately 20 light years away in the constellation Libra.

Career

Udry earned a doctorate at the University of Geneva in 1992, and spent two years at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Later, Udry returned to Geneva, and worked with Michel Mayor, the discoverer of 51 Pegasi b, the first extrasolar planet found revolving around a normal star. In 2007, Udry was appointed full professor in the faculty of natural sciences at the University of Geneva.

Research

Udry's initial research concerned the dynamics of galaxies. His current work chiefly concerns the search for extra-solar planets by analyzing variations in the radial velocities of stars. So far, Udry has participated in the discovery of 84 extra-solar planets. Among them is Gliese 581 c (announced April 25, 2007) perhaps the most likely candidate for habitability of any extrasolar planet discovered so far. The planet was discovered by analyzing data obtained by the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) on the European Southern Observatory's 3.6 meter telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile. He was interviewed by Mat Kaplan on Planetary Radio


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