Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New planets around sun-like stars

15.12.2009
An international team of planet hunters has found four new planets orbiting two nearby stars that are very similar to the Sun. These discoveries point the way to the detection of potentially habitable worlds within a few years.

The planets were found by Australian, American and British astronomers using the Anglo-Australian Telescope in New South Wales and the Keck Telescope in Hawai'i. They employed the "Doppler wobble" technique, which measures how stars are tugged around by their planets' gravity.

Three planets with masses ranging from 5.3 to 24.9 Earth masses orbit the star 61 Virginis, which is virtually a twin of the Sun.

"These planets are particularly exciting," said team member Professor Chris Tinney of the University of NSW. "Neptune in our Solar System has a mass 17 times that of the Earth. It looks like there may be many Sun-like stars nearby with planets of that mass or less. They point the way to even smaller planets that could be rocky and suitable for life."

61 Virginis can be seen with the naked eye. It lies 28 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Virgo, which at this time of year can be seen rising a few hours before the Sun. The findings for 61 Virginis are to be published in The Astrophysical Journal.

The fourth planet the research team found is a Jupiter-mass planet orbiting the Sun-like star 23 Librae. 23 Librae lies 84 light-years away in the constellation of Libra. Another planet was found around this star in 2006: this new one is the second.The new planet has a 14-year orbit. This makes it very like Jupiter, which has a 12-year orbit.

"In fact, what we detect from this star system is very like what we'd detect from our own Solar System if we were observing it from a distance, because Jupiter has the strongest gravitational effect of all our Sun's planets," said Dr Simon O'Toole of the Anglo-Australian Observatory, a member of the planet-hunting team.

"We are now in a position to quantify how common planets like Jupiter are around stars like our Sun," said team member Hugh Jones of University of Hertfordshire. "Compared to the Solar System, most extrasolar systems look odd, with planets in very small or very elliptical orbits. In contrast, this new planet has an orbit that is both large, and nearly circular—and for the first time we are beginning to see systems that resemble our own."

"These detections are truly at the current state-of-the-art," said team member Dr Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institute of Washington, "The inner planet of the 61 Vir system is among the two or three lowest-amplitude planetary signals that have been identified with confidence. We've found there's a tremendous advantage to be gained from combining data from two world-class observatories, and it's clear that we'll have an excellent shot at identifying potentially habitable planets around the very nearest stars within just a few years."

Chris Tinney | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unsw.edu.au

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole
22.02.2018 | Royal Astronomical Society

nachricht UMass Amherst physicists contribute to dark matter detector success
22.02.2018 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>