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Astronomers have discovered in one of the stars of three Earth-like planet

June 16 2008
14:33

Employees of the European Southern Observatory in Chile discovered near one of the stars of an entire planetary system - just three Earth-like celestial body.

Planet orbiting the star HD 40307, located in the constellation Dorado and painter at a distance of 42 light-years. Mass of the star slightly less massive as the Sun and planets have a mass of 4,2, 6,7 and 9,4 times the mass of Earth. This class of planets was the naming of a "super-Earth" - they are heavier than Earth but less massive than Uranus and Neptune (about 15 Earth masses). "In the past five years, we are very accurately measured the speed of the star HD 40307, and our results clearly showed the presence of three planets," - said one of the authors of the study, an employee of the Geneva Observatory, Michel Meyer, presenting the results of observations at a conference in the French city of Nantes.

Detected planets have a very high rate of rotation around their world - their "year" lasts 4.3, 9.6 and 20.4 Earth days, respectively, RIA-Novosti. The first planet outside our solar system Meyer and his colleague Didier Keloz discovered in 1995, a star in the constellation Pegasus. To date, more than 280 known planets outside in 240 planetary systems. Most of the planets belong to the so-called "hot Jupiters" - is similar to Jupiter and Saturn, the gas giants traded in a very short distance from their suns.

The discovery of planets around other stars has become possible thanks to the precision measurement of the velocity of stars with the help of spectrometers - each found their own planets changing velocity of the star only a few meters per second.

At a conference in France, astronomers announced the discovery of two more planetary systems, also found with a spectrograph HARPS. In one of these "super-Earth" (7.5 Earth masses) orbits the star HD 181433 in 9.5 days. This star is also the owner of a gas giant like Jupiter, whose orbital period is approximately three years. The second system contains two planets, one of which is a mass 22 times greater than Earth and has a period of four days, the second close to the mass of Saturn and orbits the star in three years. Planets with small orbital period are easier to detect than the planets with large periods. It is very likely that there are many other planets: not only super-Earth "and the like Neptune planets, but planets like Earth, which is still impossible to detect.

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