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Tim Kendall's Extreme Astrophysics

Imaging, spectroscopy and statistics of exoplanets

30 Aug 2017, 23:54 UTC
Imaging, spectroscopy and statistics of exoplanets Gemini/GPI

Gemini/GPI (Gemini Planet Imager) image of 51 Eridani b, discovered in 2015, courtesy www.sci-news.com. The object has been spectroscopically characterised this year by Samland et al. who note it is outside the normal colour-colour relations for brown dwarfs. The authors employ the Markov Chain Monte Carlo technique of Bayesian inference to find that the exoplanet has a high metallicity; in fact, 51 Eri b is as metal-rich as Saturn. (We may recall that here metals mean any element heavier than helium, which is sensible, as lithium and for that matter beryllium are generally classed as metals). The most likely estimate for the mass is about 9 Jupiter masses.

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