Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Rocky Planet Found In Constellation Leo

Date:
April 10, 2008
Source:
University College London
Summary:
Astronomers have discovered a possible terrestrial-type planet orbiting a star in the constellation of Leo. The new planet, which lies at a distance of 30 light years from the Earth, has a mass five times that of our planet but is the smallest found to date. One full day on the new planet would be equivalent to three weeks on Earth.

This artist's concept shows a Neptune-sized extrasolar planet circling the star Gliese 436. New simulations show that another exoplanet, possible terrestrial-type, may also be orbiting the star.
Credit: NASA

Spanish and UCL (University College London) scientists have discovered a possible terrestrial-type planet orbiting a star in the constellation of Leo. The new planet, which lies at a distance of 30 light years from the Earth, has a mass five times that of our planet but is the smallest found to date. One full day on the new planet would be equivalent to three weeks on Earth.

Related Articles


The team of astronomers from the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) working with Dr Jean-Philippe Beaulieu, a visiting astrophysicist at UCL, made the discovery from model predictions of a new exoplanet (meaning planet outside our solar system) orbiting a star in the constellation of Leo. Simulations show that the exoplanet, dubbed GJ 436c, orbits its host star (GJ 436) in only 5.2 Earth days, and is thought to complete a revolution in 4.2 Earth days, compared to the Earth’s revolution of 24 hours and full orbit of 365 days. On Earth, a full day (sunset to sunset) coincides quite closely with the rotation period. On the new planet these two periods do not coincide, since the orbital translation period and the rotation period are very similar. For this reason, a full day on the new planet would take four planetary years, or roughly 22 Earth days.

The study, published recently in Astrophysical Journal, predicted the presence of a small exoplanet perturbing an inner planet (already known), producing changes on its orbit. A re-analysis of archival radial velocities also permitted the identification of a signal that perfectly matches the simulations and corresponds to a planet in resonance with the inner one, meaning that for every two orbits of the known planet the new planet completes one.

Ignasi Ribas, lead author of the study from CSIC, says: “After final confirmation, the new exoplanet will be the smallest found to date. It is the first one to be identified from the perturbations exerted on another planet of the system. Because of this, the study opens a new path that should lead to the discovery of even smaller planets in the near future, with the goal of eventually finding worlds more and more similar to the Earth.”

Dr Jean-Philippe Beaulieu, visiting astrophysicist at UCL Physics and Astronomy, says: “This is the fourth super-Earth planet discovered. This planet is the hot twin of the frozen super-Earth (OGLE-2005-BLG-390lb) we discovered by microlensing two years ago. Other previously discovered planets of this class are the two hot super-Earths Gl 581b and Gl 876d detected by their Doppler wobble.“

Dr Giovanna Tinetti, UCL Physics and Astronomy who recently calculated the putative properties of this planet, says: “Calculations indicate that the temperature of the planet could be within 400-700 Kelvin [127-427 Celsius], but it could locally be as low as 350 K [77 C] at the poles, depending on the type of atmosphere.”

Most of the 280 or so planets discovered to date are gas giants similar to Jupiter, although some with masses below 10 times that of the Earth have already been found. Planets with masses of between one and 10 times the Earth are often dubbed super-Earths. In this case, current models predict that the new planet is a rocky type and has a radius some 50 per cent larger than the Earth.

Journal reference: ‘A 5 M super-Earth orbiting GJ 436? The power of near-grazing transits’ is published the week of April 6 in Astrophysical Journal.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University College London. "New Rocky Planet Found In Constellation Leo." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080409113958.htm>.
University College London. (2008, April 10). New Rocky Planet Found In Constellation Leo. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080409113958.htm
University College London. "New Rocky Planet Found In Constellation Leo." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080409113958.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) An invisible barrier is keeping dangerous super fast electrons from interfering with our atmosphere, but scientists aren't entirely sure how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soyuz Spacecraft Docks With International Space Station: NASA

Soyuz Spacecraft Docks With International Space Station: NASA

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Italy's first female astronaut safely docks with the International Space Station, according to NASA. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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