HARPS Instrument Finds Unusual Planetary System
Planetary System Around HD 69830 (Artists Impression) The HARPS measurement reveal the presence of three planets with masses between 10 and 18 Earth masses around HD 69830, a rather normal star slightly less massive than the Sun. The planets mean distance are 0.08, 0.19, and 0.63 the mean distance between the Earth and the Sun. From previous observations, it seems that there exists also an asteroid belt, whose location is unknown. It could either lie between the two outermost planets, or farther from its parent star than 0.8 the mean Earth-Sun distance.
Using the ultra-precise HARPS spectrograph on ESO’s 3.6-m telescope at La Silla (Chile), a team of European astronomers have discovered that a nearby star is host to three Neptune-mass planets. The innermost planet is most probably rocky, while the outermost is the first known Neptune-mass planet to reside in the habitable zone. This unique system is likely further enriched by an asteroid belt.
“For the first time, we have discovered a planetary system composed of several Neptune-mass planets”, said Christophe Lovis, from the Geneva Observatory and lead-author of the paper presenting the results (1).
Henri Boffin | alfa
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