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Take a moment to be truly awed by science...

Posted by cypresstx on 1/28/2017, 11:38 am

Direct imaging of four planets orbiting the star HR 8799  (Embedding disabled by request)

Published on Jan 27, 2017

Direct imaging of four planets orbiting the star HR 8799

A Four Planet System in Orbit, Directly Imaged

For the first time ever, astronomers at Keck Observatory in Hawaii have directly imaged four massive plants orbiting a young star.

The four planets in question are more massive than our own Jupiter.

The star HR 8799 is 129 light years away in the constellation of Pegasus. By coincidence, it is quite close to the star 51 Pegasi, where the first exoplanet was detected in 1995. Star HR 8799 is less than 50 million years old and approximately 1.5 times more massive than our Sun. With surface temperature of around 7430 kelvin, and Luminosity 4.9 timer greater than our own Sun, HR 8799 is classed as A7V main sequence yellow white dwarf star.

The trio of larger inner planets all have 7 to 9 Jupiter masses and themselves had they accreted slightly more mass would have become Brown dwarfs. The outermost Gas giant has a mass of 5-6 Jupiter and orbits HR 8799 (at)68(at) AUs or 10.2 billion kilometres. Most inner Gas Giant orbits HR 8799 (at)14.5 AUs or 2.17 billion kilometres.

Jason Wang, an astronomy graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, think that the four planets may well be in resonance with each other, meaning that each planet has an orbital period in nearly precise ratio with the others in the system.

The significance of this is, perhaps with improved technology and better techniques, smaller planets can be imaged and observed over period, planets that are much closer to its host star, Earth like planets.

Technology required for direct observation or earth like planets isn't yet on a drawing board, however European Extremely Large Telescope will have capability to observe nearby star systems in great detail, and imaging small terrestrial planets will be one of EELT's tasks.


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Take a moment to be truly awed by science... - cypresstx, 1/28/2017, 11:38 am

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