Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Super Earths Found

I like it when remarkable exoplanet results are disguised within more-or-less innocuously titled papers. A nice example occurred this summer, with “The HARPS search for southern extra-solar planets. XIII. A planetary system with 3 Super-Earths (4.2, 6.9, & 9.2 Earth masses)”. While it’s true that the three planets orbiting HD 40307 are indeed cool, the Geneva team announced much bigger news in the discussion section of the article. They reported, almost offhandedly, that 1/3 of solar-type stars have sub-Neptune mass planets with periods of 50 days or less. That’s the most important planet news since the discovery of hot Jupiters.

Blatantly stolen from systematic.

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