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Scientists discover new Super Earth in six-planet system

By: Team Ifairer | Posted: 20-04-2020
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Scientists discover new Super Earth in six-planet system
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"The discovery of this exceptional system has been made possible thanks to the acquisition of a great number of measurements, as well as a dramatic improvement of the instrument and of our signal processing techniques," said Francois Bouchy, a professor at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) in Switzerland.

Scientists have discovered a six-planet system - a "super-Earth" and five "mini-Neptunes" which display an exceptionally regular spacing, hinting at how the system may have formed. The planets revolving the star HD 158259 in the Draco constellation were found using the SOPHIE spectrograph installed at the Haute-Provence Observatory in the South of France, according to the study published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

"The discovery of this exceptional system has been made possible thanks to the acquisition of a great number of measurements, as well as a dramatic improvement of the instrument and of our signal processing techniques," said Francois Bouchy, a professor at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) in Switzerland.

SOPHIE observations showed that the planet that is closest to HD 158259 and the five outer planets present masses of two and six times that of the Earth, respectively, the researchers said. The system has been found to be compact, in the sense that the distance of the outermost planet to its star is 2.6 times smaller than the distance between Mercury and the Sun, they said.

NASA's TESS space telescope observed a decrease of the star's brightness as the innermost planet transited between the observer and the star. "The TESS measurements strongly support the detection of the planet and allow to estimate its radius, which brings very valuable information on the planet's internal structure," said Isabelle Boisse, a researcher at the Marseille Astrophysics Laboratory in France, and co-author of the study.
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