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Beyond Earthly Skies

A Venus-Mass Planet Orbiting a Brown Dwarf

10 Jul 2015, 23:00 UTC
A Venus-Mass Planet Orbiting a Brown Dwarf
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Brown dwarfs are objects with masses that fill the gap between stars and planets. Like stars, brown dwarfs are also known to host planets around them. Most of these planets are gas giants with more than 1/10th the mass of their host brown dwarfs. These systems tend to resemble scaled down versions of binary star systems rather than normal planetary systems around stars.Nevertheless, an object identified as OGLE-2012-BLG-0358Lb is known to be a planetary-mass object (i.e. secondary object) with 1.9 ± 0.2 times the mass of Jupiter. It orbits a brown dwarf (i.e. primary object) with 0.022 times the Sun’s mass at a projection separation of roughly 0.87 AU. This system has a low secondary-to-primary mass ratio of roughly 0.08, making it more analogous to normal planetary systems around stars than scaled down versions of binary systems.Udalski et al. (2015) present the discovery of a system consisting of a brown dwarf orbited by a Venus-mass planet, with both objects orbiting a very low-mass star. This system was discovered via a technique known as gravitational microlensing and the event is dubbed OGLE-2013-BLG-0723. Gravitational microlensing occurs when a foreground object crosses the line of sight to a background star and the gravitational ...

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