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Systemic - Characterizing Extrasolar Planetary Systems

BD 08-2823b (or opportunity comes knocking)

29 Dec 2009, 06:42 UTC
BD 08-2823b (or opportunity comes knocking)
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

I was catching up on astro-ph.EP this morning, and came across Paper #20 from the HARPS Search for Southern Extrasolar Planets. The authors report the detection of two new planets orbiting BD 08-2823, a nearby, moderately active K-dwarf. The inner planet in this new system has a mass comparable to Uranus (Msin(i)=14.4 Earth Masses) and an orbital period of 5.60 days — yet another example from the huge population of super-Earths and sub-Neptunes lying in short-period orbits around the Sun’s closest neighbors. As described in the paper, the two new planets emerged serendipitously from a thwarted attempt to identify transiting planets using the Hipparcos database.
What caught my eye about BD 08-2823b, is the fact that the parent star has not yet been monitored for transits. The a-priori probability that BD 08-2823b can be observed in transit is >7%. The star is observable from both hemispheres, at V=9.86 it’s a natural for small-telescope ground-based observers, and it’s up right now!
A successful detection is no walk in the park: The expected transit depth is of order 1.2 millimag, right at the limit of what’s been demonstrated by skilled small-telescope observers. The possible short-term activity of the parent star will demand ...

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