Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Jupiter-Size Planet Found Orbiting Star In Big Dipper

Date:
August 16, 2001
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
A team of astronomers has found a Jupiter-size planet in a circular orbit around a faint nearby star, raising intriguing prospects of finding a solar system with characteristics similar to our own.

A team of astronomers has found a Jupiter-size planet in a circular orbit around a faint nearby star, raising intriguing prospects of finding a solar system with characteristics similar to our own.

The planet is the second found to orbit the star 47 Ursae Majoris in the Big Dipper, also known as Ursa Major or the Big Bear. The new planet is at least three-fourths the mass of Jupiter and orbits the star at a distance that, in our solar system, would place it beyond Mars but within the orbit of Jupiter.

"Astronomers have detected evidence of more than 70 extrasolar planets," said Morris Aizenman, a senior science advisor at the National Science Foundation (NSF). "Each discovery brings us closer to determining whether other planetary systems have features like those of our own."

"For the first time we have detected two planets in nearly circular orbits around the same star," said team member Debra Fischer of the University of California at Berkeley. "Most of the 70 planets people have found to date are in bizarre solar systems, with short periods and eccentric orbits close to the star. As our sensitivity improves we are finally seeing planets with longer orbital period, planetary systems that look more like our solar system."

The planet-search team, which is supported by NSF and NASA, has been instrumental in finding a majority of the extrasolar planets. Besides Fischer, the team includes Geoffrey Marcy, also of Berkeley; Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington; Steve Vogt of the University of California at Santa Cruz; and Gregory Laughlin of NASA’s Ames Research Center. Their report on the new planet has been submitted to Astrophysical Journal.

A few years ago, Marcy and Butler discovered a planet more than twice the mass of Jupiter in a circular orbit around the same star. The star is one of 100 that the scientists have targeted since 1987 in their search for evidence of extrasolar planets. They use the 3-meter and 0.6-meter telescopes at the University of California’s Lick Observatory to measure Doppler-shifted light reaching the earth from stars. Regular changes in the Doppler shift, they believe, signal the presence of a planet periodically pulling the star toward or away from Earth.

Fischer was able to see the periodic wobble from the second planet, smaller and farther from the star than the first, because of improved instrumentation that can measure motions as small as three meters per second.

The star is a yellow star similar to the sun, probably about seven billion years old and located about 51 light years from Earth.

"Every new planetary system reveals some new quirk that we didn't expect. We've found planets in small orbits and wacky eccentric orbits," said Marcy. "With 47 Ursae Majoris, it's heartwarming to find a planetary system that finally reminds us of our solar system."

For a list of extrasolar planets, see: http://www.exoplanets.org

For illustrations, see: http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/press/01/newplanet.htm


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Jupiter-Size Planet Found Orbiting Star In Big Dipper." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 August 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010816082702.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2001, August 16). Jupiter-Size Planet Found Orbiting Star In Big Dipper. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010816082702.htm
National Science Foundation. "Jupiter-Size Planet Found Orbiting Star In Big Dipper." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010816082702.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) Russian cosmonauts say they've found evidence of sea plankton on the International Space Station's windows. NASA is a little more skeptical. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space to Ground: Hello Georges

Space to Ground: Hello Georges

NASA (Aug. 18, 2014) Europe's ATV-5 delivers new science and the crew tests smart SPHERES. Questions or comments? Use #spacetoground to talk to us. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) The Chasqui I, hand-delivered into orbit by a Russian cosmonaut, is one of hundreds of small satellites set to go up in the next few years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, August 15, 2014

This Week @ NASA, August 15, 2014

NASA (Aug. 15, 2014) Carbon Observatory’s First Data, ATV-5 Delivers Cargo, Cygnus Departs Station and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins