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Thread: Observing Stars That Host Exoplanets

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Observing Stars That Host Exoplanets



    Thanks for pointing out this interesting and fun topic Alan. Another useful application of our time for when our lunar companion is making things difficult for us. Exoplanets are one of my great areas of interest but I had never thought of tracking down some of the systems in which they reside until now. Should make for a fascinating project over the course of a night or two.
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  2. #12
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    Default Re: Observing Stars That Host Exoplanets

    Quote Originally Posted by N184EW View Post
    Awesome, great idea Alan. This sort of reminds me of Uncle Rod’s blog post about hunting down star systems mentioned in Star Trek. As much as I like science fiction, reality is far more interesting.

    Early in exoplanet hunting, the supermassive gas giants were the first to be discovered. As techniques improved, it evolved to finding Jupiter-sized planets and later rocky “super Earths”. Over the last few years, the size of planets discovered are approaching Earth size and even the compositions are being analyzed. Truly fascinating!

    So to that end, did you come across any observable stars with exoplanets that are closer to Earth size?
    Thanks Eric. The Earth is listed at 0.00315 Jupiter masses (Mj). I haven't done extensive research on specific stars with Earth sized planets. But one such dimmer star would be EPIC 201367065 (or K2-3), a magnitude 12.17 M-class red dwarf that has three exoplanets of 2.1, 1.7 and 1.5 times the size of Earth (note, I do not have actual mass figures though). They all orbit closer than Mercury (0.3870 A.U.), as follows: b=0.0769 A.U., c=0.1399 A.U., d=0.2076 A.U., with the longest orbital period being d at 44.5631 days. This system is located in southeastern Leo at R.A. 11h 29m 20.0s and Dec -01° 27' 17". I don't know if Stellarium plots it or not as I don't have access to it or any of my other programs.

    As for brighter stars with Earth sized exoplanets, in my original list there is Alpha Centauri-B, which has a planet of 0.0036 Mj. While that is quite close in mass, it is also a bit south for many. If one is too far north to see Rigel Kent, then that is of little consolation. I will continue to investigate this further to see what I can find out, and encourage others to do so as well and post any promising candidates in this thread.

    Another resource site is the NASA exoplanet archive:

    NASA Exoplanet Archive
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  4. #13
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    Default Re: Observing Stars That Host Exoplanets

    Alpha centauri is a great star to split.

    I did so just last Friday night and will surely revisit them knowing the B component has a exoplanet.
    It is also interesting to note that there is some speculation that Proxima Centauri makes up the third star to form a triple star system.
    This was discovered by Robert Innes in 1915. Innes was an experienced binary star observer who made 1,628 discoveries at the Cape Observatory, South Africa.

    Sadly this system cannot be seen from further than 30deg North from what I understand.

    Cheers
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    Default Re: Observing Stars That Host Exoplanets

    I know when I was observing from 19 north, Alpha & Beta along with Crux were a stunning sight hanging over my southern horizon. Proxima being part of the three star system is my understanding as well. It is also the nearest known star to us at 4.24 light years, and shines at about mag 11.09. Thus far no brown dwarfs or large planets have been found orbiting it. Glad you had a chance to split the A & B components. I envy you having them in your sky every year!
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    Default Re: Observing Stars That Host Exoplanets

    Most especially now during the Autumn/winter months.

    Alpha centauri(Rigel kentauris) and Hadar along with the Southern cross(Crux) form a dazzling display.
    And with the new information you have passed along they become even more significant knowing there are exoplanets.

    Cheers
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    Default Re: Observing Stars That Host Exoplanets

    This below linked article ties into our general discussion of exoplanets. The planet in the article is one of five orbiting 55 Cancri A, a double star often designated as Rho (Æ¿¹) Cancri in atlases. I should have mentioned this star in my original post, but I was looking more at stars that would be in better observing position over the next month or two. Anyway, 55 Cancri A is a mag 5.95 main sequence yellow dwarf of spectral class G8V, while its mag 13.15 companion (B) is a small red dwarf of spectral class M3.5-4V. 55 Canrci e is a Super Earth of approximately 8.63 Me (Earth Masses) with an average orbital distance of only 0.0156 A.U.

    If you wish to observe this star while its still in the sky, you can look at the Pocket Sky Atlas char 24 or Interstellarum chart 35. The star is plotted as Rho (Æ¿¹) in both, and lies just east-southeast of the amazing double star Iota Cancri. Enjoy!

    Astronomers find first evidence of changing conditions on a super-Earth
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  9. #17
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    Default Re: Observing Stars That Host Exoplanets

    Another one to add to the list. I always find the distances from the home star fascinating in the case of these rocky exoplanets - incredibly close. They must be very malleable and full of molten rock - blasted by the hot temperatures of the star and also greatly impacted by immense gravitational forces - hard to see how they are even solid bodies.
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