Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

More Planets Emerge With Solar System-Like Orbits

Date:
October 16, 2001
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
An international team of astronomers has discovered eight new extrasolar planets, bringing to nearly 80 the number of planets found orbiting nearby stars. The latest discoveries, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA, uncovered more evidence of what the astronomers are calling a new class of planets. These planets have circular orbits similar to the orbits of planets in our solar system.

An international team of astronomers has discovered eight new extrasolar planets, bringing to nearly 80 the number of planets found orbiting nearby stars. The latest discoveries, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA, uncovered more evidence of what the astronomers are calling a new class of planets. These planets have circular orbits similar to the orbits of planets in our solar system.

At least two of the recently detected planets have approximately circular orbits. This characteristic is shared by two planets (one of them the size of Jupiter) previously detected by the same team around 47 Ursae Majoris, a star in the Big Dipper constellation, and one around the star Epsilon Reticulum. The majority of the extrasolar planets found to date are in an elongated, or "eccentric," orbit.

The further a planet lies from its star, the longer it takes to complete an orbit and the longer astronomers have to observe to detect it.

"As our search continues, we're finding planets in larger and larger orbits," said Steve Vogt of the Lick Observatory, University of California at Santa Cruz. "Most of the planetary systems we've found have looked like very distant relatives of the solar system - no family likeness at all. Now we're starting to see something like second cousins.

"In a few years' time we could be finding brothers and sisters."

"This result is very exciting," said Anne Kinney, director of NASA's Astronomy and Physics Division. "To understand the formation and evolution of planets and planetary systems we need a large sample of planets to study. This result, added to others in the recent past, marks the beginning of an avalanche of data which will help to provide the answers."

The recently detected planets range in mass from 0.8 to 10 times the mass of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. They orbit their stars at distances ranging from about 0.07 AU (astronomical unit, or the distance from the Sun to Earth), to three AU.

The astronomers--from the United States, Australia, Belgium and the United Kingdom--are searching the nearest 1,200 stars for planets similar to those in our solar system, particularly Jupiter-like gas giants. Their findings will help astronomers assess the solar system's place in the galaxy and whether planetary systems like our own are common or rare.

For most of their discoveries, the astronomers have used the Keck 10-meter telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii; the Lick 3-meter in Santa Cruz, California; and the 3.9-meter Anglo-Australian Telescope in New South Wales, Australia. To find evidence of planets, the astronomers use a high-precision technique developed by Paul Butler, Carnegie Institution of Washington, and Geoff Marcy of the University of California at Berkeley to measure how much a star "wobbles" in space as it is affected by a planet's gravity.

The team also receives support from the UK and Australian governments.


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. "More Planets Emerge With Solar System-Like Orbits." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011016070032.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2001, October 16). More Planets Emerge With Solar System-Like Orbits. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011016070032.htm
National Science Foundation. "More Planets Emerge With Solar System-Like Orbits." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011016070032.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — Numerous residents along the East Coast reported seeing a bright meteor flash through the sky Sunday night. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil. It has announced it has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA to Resume Human Space Flight, Focus on Mars

NASA to Resume Human Space Flight, Focus on Mars

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 16, 2014) — NASA awards contracts to Boeing and SpaceX to ferry astronauts to the international space station, saying the move will allow the space agency to focus on more ambitious missions like sending humans to Mars. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
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