Astronomers said Wednesday that they had found a miniature version of our own solar system 5,000 light-years across the galaxy — the first planetary system that really looks like our own, with outer giant planets and room for smaller inner planets. - The New York TimesBut even cooler is the way this discovery was made. Astronomers used a technique caled gravitational microlensing, by which gravity itself is used to focus and magnify light from distant stars. In 2002 it was said, "Some astronomers now predict that future microlensing searches might even isolate planets orbiting distant stars."
An Einstein Cross - a quasar gravitationally lensed by a galaxy.
Six year later, that has actually happened.
The new discovery was made by a different technique that favors planets more distant from their star. It is based on a trick of Einsteinian gravity called microlensing. If, in the ceaseless shifting of the stars, two of them should become almost perfectly aligned with Earth, the gravity of the nearer star can bend and magnify the light from the more distant one, causing it to get much brighter for a few days. - The New York TimesThe universe is utterly magnificent, and an awesome manifestation of wonder. How incredible are we as a species to be able to begin to comprehend its exquisite variety?