Proximity of Jupiter-Like Planets to Low-Mass Stars

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Science  20 Jan 1995:
Vol. 267, Issue 5196, pp. 360-362
DOI: 10.1126/science.267.5196.360


The sensitivities of astrometric and radial velocity searches for extrasolar planets are strongly dependent on planetary masses and orbits. Because most nearby stars are less massive than the sun, the first detection is likely to be of a Jupiter-mass planet orbiting a low-mass star, with a possible theoretical expectation being that Jupiter-like planets will be found much closer [inside the Earth-sun separation of 1 astronomical unit (AU)] to these low-luminosity stars than Jupiter is to the sun (5.2 AU). However, radiative hydrodynamic models of protoplanetary disks around low-mass stars (of 0.1 to 1 solar mass) show that Jupiter-like planets should form at distances (approximately 4 to 5 AU) that are only weakly dependent on the stellar mass.