The research, which appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was conducted by a multi-national team of scientists, including physicists at New York University, Princeton University, and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research.
Image courtesy of MPI for Solar System Research/Mark A. Garlick (www.markgarlick.com).
An artistic rendering of HD 52265 and its orbiting Jupiter-like planet.
The researchers examined HD 52265—a star approximately 92 light years away and nearly 20 percent more massive than our Sun. More than a decade ago, scientists identified an exopanet—a planet outside our Solar System—in the star’s orbit. HD 52265, then, served as an ideal model for both measuring stars’ properties and how such properties can shed light on planetary systems.
Previously, scientists inferred stars’ properties, such as radius, mass, and age, by considering observations of their brightness and color. Often these stars’ properties were not known to sufficient accuracy to further characterize the nearby planets.
In the PNAS study, the scientists adopted a new approach to characterize star-planet systems: asteroseismology, which identifies the internal properties of stars by measuring their surface oscillations. Some have compared this approach to seismologists’ use of earthquake oscillations to examine the earth’s interior.
Here, they were able to make several assessments of the star’s traits, including its mass, radius, age, and—for the first time— internal rotation. They used the COROT space telescope, part of a space mission led by the French Space Agency (CNES) in conjunction with the European Space Agency (ESA), to detect tiny fluctuations in the intensity of starlight caused by starquakes. The researchers confirmed the validity of the seismic results by comparing them with independent measurements of related phenomena. These included the motion of dark spots on the star’s surface and the star’s spectroscopic rotational velocity.
Unlike other methods, the technique of asteroseismology returns both the rotation period of the star and the inclination of the rotation axis to the line of sight.
The scientists could then use these findings to make a more definitive determination of an orbiting exoplanet. While it had previously been identified as an exoplanet by other scientists, some raised doubts about this conclusion, positing that it could actually be a brown dwarf—an object too small to be a star and too large to be a planet.
But, armed with the precise calculations yielded by asteroseismology, the researchers on the PNAS study were able to enhance the certainty of the earlier conclusion. Specifically, given the inclination of the rotation axis of HD 52265 and the minimum mass of the nearby exoplanet, the researchers could infer the true mass of the latter—which was calculated to be roughly twice that of our planet Jupiter and therefore too small to be a brown dwarf.
The study’s authors included: Katepalli Sreenivasan, president of Polytechnic Institute of NYU and dean of engineering at NYU; Shravan Hanasoge, an associate research scholar in geosciences at Princeton University and a visiting scholar at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences; and Laurent Gizon, director of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research and a professor at the University of Goettingen in Germany.
James Devitt | Newswise
SF State astronomer searches for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet
20.01.2017 | San Francisco State University
Molecule flash mob
19.01.2017 | Technische Universität Wien
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences