Newly discovered planet may have waterNovember 14th, 2007 - 8:36 am ICT by admin
“This is the first quintuple-planet system,” said Debra Fischer, an astronomer at San Francisco State University. “This system has a dominant gas giant planet in an orbit similar to our Jupiter. Like the planets orbiting our sun, most of these planets reside in nearly circular orbits,” she added.
Researchers discovered the fifth planet using the Doppler technique, in which a planet’s gravitational tug is detected by the wobble it produces in the parent star. The finding was made after careful observation of 2,000 nearby stars with the Shane telescope at Lick Observatory located on Mt. Hamilton, east of San Jose, California, and the W.M. Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii. More than 320 velocity measurements were required to disentangle signals from each of the planets.
Weighing about 45 times the mass of Earth, the newly discovered planet is the fourth from 55 Cancri and completes one orbit every 260 days.
According to astronomers, the new planet may be similar to Saturn in its composition and appearance. Its location places the planet in the “habitable zone,” a band around the star where the temperature would permit liquid water to pool on solid surfaces.
“It is amazing to see our ability to detect extrasolar planets growing,” said Alan Stern, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Washington. “We are finding solar systems with a richness of planets and a variety of planetary types comparable to our own,” he added.
“The gas-giant planets in our solar system all have large moons,” said Debra Fischer, an astronomer at San Francisco State University. “If there is a moon orbiting this new, massive planet, it might have pools of liquid water on a rocky surface.”
“This work marks an exciting next step in the search for worlds like our own,” said Michael Briley, an astronomer at the National Science Foundation. “To go from the first detections of planets around sun-like stars to finding a full-fledged solar system with a planet in a habitable zone in just 12 years is an amazing accomplishment,” he added.
“Finding five extrasolar planets orbiting a star is only one small step. Earth-like planets are the next destination,” said Marcy, a researcher on the subject. (ANI)
- Web users locate two new potential planets - Sep 22, 2011
- NASA's Spitzer detects light of alien 'Super-Earth' - May 09, 2012
- Scientists discover first Earth-Size planets outside the Milky Way - Dec 21, 2011
- Astronomer finds planetary system larger than our own - Apr 13, 2012
- Scientists discover richest planetary system - Aug 25, 2010
- New solar system found 127 light years away - Aug 25, 2010
- Densest solid planet known 'super-exotic super-Earth' unveiled - Apr 29, 2011
- Astronomers unveil 'super-exotic' exoplanet - Apr 29, 2011
- First multi-planet solar system spotted - Aug 29, 2012
- Brand new planet-finding technique boosts chances of finding new Earths - Jul 09, 2010
- Our solar system may have millions of "twins" - Jan 09, 2010
- 50 new planets found - Sep 13, 2011
- Earth-sized planets found beyond solar system - Dec 21, 2011
- Spectrum of young extrasolar planet reveals its uniqueness - Aug 31, 2010
- First ever proof of star devouring planet - Aug 21, 2012
Tags: 55 cancri, astronomer, constellation cancer, debra fischer, doppler technique, extrasolar planets, gas giant planets, gravitational tug, keck observatory, liquid water, massive planet, mauna kea, nasa, newly discovered planet, orbit, orbits, san francisco state, san francisco state university, shane telescope