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'Cold Neptune' and Two Temperate Super-Earths Found Orbiting Nearby Stars

24 Jan 2020, 22:13 UTC
'Cold Neptune' and Two Temperate Super-Earths Found Orbiting Nearby Stars
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A “cold Neptune” and two potentially habitable worlds are part of a cache of five newly discovered exoplanets and eight exoplanet candidates found orbiting nearby red dwarf stars, which are reported in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series by a team led by Carnegie’s Fabo Feng and Paul Butler.The two potentially habitable planets are orbiting GJ180 and GJ229A, which are among the nearest stars to our own Sun, making them prime targets for observations by next-generation space- and land-based telescopes. They are both super-Earths with at least 7.5 and 7.9 times our planet’s mass and orbital periods of 106 and 122 days respectively. The Neptune-mass planet—found orbiting GJ433 at a distance at which surface water is likely to be frozen—is probably the first of its kind that is a realistic candidate for future direct imaging.“GJ 433 d is the nearest, widest, and coldest Neptune-like planet ever detected,” Feng added.The newfound worlds were discovered using the radial velocity method for finding planets, which takes advantage of the fact that not only does a star’s gravity influence the planet orbiting it, but the planet’s gravity also affects the star in turn. This creates tiny wobbles in the star’s orbit that can be detected ...

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