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Beyond Earthly Skies

Three Super-Earths Orbiting HD 7924

2 May 2015, 22:00 UTC
Three Super-Earths Orbiting HD 7924
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HD 7924, a nearby K-dwarf star located ~55 light-years away, hosts a planetary system comprised of three super-Earths. High precision radial velocity measurements made using the High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HIRES) at Keck Observatory in Hawaii and the Automated Planet Finder Telescope (APF) at Lick Observatory in California robustly detected the three super-Earths around HD 7924. They are identified as HD 7924 b, HD 7924 c and HD 7924 d, with the lower case alphabetical suffixes denoting their planetary nature.Super-Earths are a class of planets intermediate in size and mass between Earth and Neptune. Such planets do not exist in the Solar System even though observations have shown that they are ubiquitous around stars. The three super-Earths around HD 7924 were found using the radial velocity method. It involves measuring the tiny “wobbling” of a star due to gravitational tugging from an unseen planet that is orbiting the star. In the case of HD 7924, the way it “wobbles” indicates the presence of three super-Earths in orbit around it.HD 7924 b has an orbital period of 5.40 days, is at least 8.7 times the mass of Earth, receives 114 times more insolation than Earth gets from the Sun and has ...

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