Research Articles

Confirmation of Earth-Mass Planets Orbiting the Millisecond Pulsar PSR B1257 + 12

Science  22 Apr 1994:
Vol. 264, Issue 5158, pp. 538-542
DOI: 10.1126/science.264.5158.538

Abstract

The discovery of two Earth-mass planets orbiting an old (∼109 years), rapidly spinning neutron star, the 6.2-millisecond radio pulsar PSR B1257+12, was announced in early 1992. It was soon pointed out that the approximately 3:2 ratio of the planets' orbital periods should lead to accurately predictable and possibly measurable gravitational perturbations of their orbits. The unambiguous detection of this effect, after 3 years of systematic timing observations of PSR B1257+12 with the 305-meter Arecibo radiotelescope, as well as the discovery of another, moon-mass object in orbit around the pulsar, constitutes irrefutable evidence that the first planetary system around a star other than the sun has been identified.

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