Astronomy Picture of the Day

Super-Earths May Circle Other Stars

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#85329 by @ 21.03.2006 00:00 - nach oben -
Super-Earths May Circle Other Stars

Are "super-Earths" common around other star systems?

Quite possibly.

Unexpected evidence
for this came to light recently when a planet orbiting a distant star
gravitationally magnified
the light of an even more distant star.

Assuming the planet's parent star is normal
red dwarf,
the brightening is best explained if the planet is about 13 times the mass of the
Earth and orbiting at the distance of the
asteroid belt in our own
Solar System.

Given the small number of objects observed and similar
determinations already obtained for other star systems,
these super-Earths might be relatively common.

Astronomers speculate that the planet might have grown into a
Jupiter-sized planet if its star system had more gas.

Since the planet was not observed directly, significant
remains in its defining attributes, and future research will be aimed at
better understanding this intriguing system.

The above drawing gives an artist's depiction of what a super-Earth orbiting a distant
red dwarf
star might look like, complete with a
hypothetical moon.

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