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Geoffrey W. Marcy and R. Paul Butler

San Francisco State University

Department of Physics and Astronomy

San Francisco, CA 94132


Astronomy Department

U.C. Berkeley

Berkeley, CA 94720


Geoffrey W. Marcy

Copyright: Stuart Kingsley



The first three extrasolar planets orbiting Solar-like stars have recently been discovered. All three were inferred from a periodicity in the optical Doppler measurements of their host stars, indicating a reflex motion in response to the gravitational force exerted by the planets. From such measurements and standard Newtonian physics, one may infer the orbital period and value of Mpl.(sin i) for the planet (where 'Mpl' is its mass and 'i' is orbital inclination). The three planets discovered thus far have Mpl.(sin i) of 0.46, 2.5 and 6.5 Mjup, and orbital periods of 4.2, 117 and 1100 days, respectively. The most massive planet (around 70 Vir) has an eccentricity, e = 0.38, larger than any in our Solar System, and one (around 51 Peg) has an orbital radius of 0.05 AU which is smaller than any in our Solar System. A general theory for the formation of planets must include these new characteristics.

Updates of the results are located in: http//www.physics.sfsu.edu/


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