National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS
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On 6 October 1995 at a conference in Florence, Italy, the Swiss astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz made a sensational announcement: They had discovered the first planet orbiting another solar-type star. They had already celebrated at the Observatory of Haute-Provence in private in summer 1995, but wanted to make sure that they had eliminated all sources of error before presenting their discovery. The pioneering paper about “A Jupiter-mass companion to a solar-type star” was published on 23 November 1995 in the journal Nature. In 2019 Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.

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The history, quotes and images

“They both live on another planet now.”

“They both live on another planet now.”

Willy Benz is particularly pleased about this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics for the Swiss astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz. He was Michel Mayor’s first PhD student at the University of Geneva. Today he is Professor at the University of Bern, Director of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS and President […]

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Where it all started in 1995

Where it all started in 1995

When Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz found the first exoplanet orbiting another solar-type star twenty years ago, Swiss TV documented the historic discovery. Have a look at the young researchers in this video that was first broadcasted on 7 December 1995.

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51 Peg b – top secret

51 Peg b – top secret

Studying the data collected at the Observatory of Haute-Provence the astronomers in Geneva knew something big was coming. But they kept their secret and worked hard to eliminate all sources of error. The Summer of 1995 – like every day at noon, astronomers from the Geneva Observatory interrupted their work for lunch in the cafeteria. […]

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“I could not believe it”

“I could not believe it”

51 Peg b changed our view of the Universe – and the life of its discoverers, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz. “I thought there was something not working in the software,” remembers Didier Queloz his first reaction when he analyzed the data collected with the spectrometer called ELODIE. Has it always been a goal to discover […]

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Michel Mayor

Michel Mayor

Born: 12.01.1942 Study: Physics at the University of Lausanne PhD: 1971 at the University of Geneva Professor at the University of Geneva since 1984 Honorary Professor since 2007, official year of retirement Designer of the spectrographs ELODIE (51pegb), CORALIE and HARPS discovering more than 500 exoplanets Among many other honors the price of the journal […]

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