Six New Extrasolar Planets Discovered

A team of astronomers from the University of California, Santa Cruz, University of California, Berkeley, the Carnegie Institution, and the University of Sussex, England, have discovered six new extrasolar planets using the Keck I telescope in Hawaii, outfitted with the "HIRES" spectrometer.

According to a NASA press release: "The six planets orbit stars that are similar in size, age, and brightness to the sun and are at distances ranging from 65 to 192 light years from earth. The planets themselves range in mass from slightly smaller to several times larger than the planet Jupiter. They are probably also similar to Jupiter in their compositions -- basically giant balls of hydrogen and helium gas, according to researcher Steven Vogt. Their orbits tend to be quite eccentric, tracing oval rather than circular paths."

According to a UC Santa Cruz press release: "HD 222582, a G3V star, is a near solar twin, 137 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius. Its planet orbits in a widly eccentric 576-day orbit, which carries the planet from 0.39 AU to 2.31 AU from the parent star in the course of its oval orbit. This is the most eccentric extrasolar planet orbit yet known. The planet's expected temperature is about -38 degrees F. Its mean orbital distance places it squarely in the habitable zone of its star."

° Astronomers discover six new planets orbiting nearby stars, UC Santa Cruz press release
° Astronomers Discover Six New Planets Orbiting Nearby Stars, NASA press release
° A Cold, Distant Birth for Jupiter?, SpaceRef
° Of Planetary Transits Near and Far, SpaceRef
° Discovery of Extrasolar Planets, the website of the team who made these discoveries
° Extrasolar Planets Resources, SpaceRef Directory


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