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Beyond Earthly Skies

Pumping up a Planet’s Orbital Eccentricity

15 Mar 2015, 22:00 UTC
Pumping up a Planet’s Orbital Eccentricity
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HD 8673 is an F-type main sequence star located approximately 120 light years away. In 2010, HD 8673 was confirmed by Hartmann et al. (2010) to have a massive planet in a highly eccentric orbit around it. The planet is identified as HD 8673b, with the suffix “b” indicating its planetary nature. HD 8673b has at least 14 times the mass of Jupiter and such a high mass suggests HD 8673b could also be a low-mass brown dwarf rather than a planet. HD 8673b orbits 3 AU from its host star in a highly eccentric orbit with a period of approximately 1600 days. At closest approach, HD 8673b is 0.83 AU from its host star. Its highly elongated orbit also takes it out as far as 5.17 AU.Roberts et al. (2015) report the discovery of a faint companion star around HD 8673. The companion star is an M dwarf star with an estimated 0.33 to 0.45 times the Sun’s mass and orbits HD 8673 at a distance of roughly 35 to 60 AU. Simulations show the companion star strongly influences the orbit of HD 8673b. Initially, the planet was on a more circular orbit and perturbations from the companion star ...

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