Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Two Hot Jupiters found in the Beehive Cluster.

The Beehive Cluster (also M44, Praesepe, the Manger) is an open cluster (a group of stars in close proximity presumed to share a common origin) 577 light years from Earth in the constellation Cancer. It is 22.8 light years across, contains over a thousand stars and is believed to be roughly 600 million years old.

M44, the Beehive Cluster. Greg Parker/The New Forrest Observatory.

In a paper published on the online arXiv database at Cornell University Library on 3 July 2012, a team of scientists led by Samuel Quinn of the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Georgia State University, describe the discovery of two Hot Jupiter type planets within the Beehive Cluster, using the 1.5-m Tillinghast Reflector at the Fred L. Whipple Observatory on Mt. Hopkins in Arizona.

The first of the new planets is named Praesepe 0201b. This orbits the star Praesepe 0201, an F class Dwarf Star 1.234 times the Sun's mass and an effective surface temperature of 6174 K (our Sun has an effective surface temperature of 5778 K). The planet has a mass 0.54 times that of Jupiter, and completes one orbit every 3.43 days.

The second planet is Praesepe 0211b, which orbits the star Praesepe 0211, a G-type dwarf star (the same class of star as out Sun) with 0.952 of the Sun's mass, and an effective surface temperature of 5326 K. The planet has a mass 1.844 times that of Jupiter, and completes one orbit every 2.15 days.

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