Detecting Less Massive Extrasolar Planets

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  15 Feb 2008:
Vol. 319, Issue 5865, pp. 873
DOI: 10.1126/science.319.5865.873b

Astronomers have discovered a large number and variety of planets orbiting stars far from our solar system. Most of these detections were of bodies with masses much larger than the heaviest objects in the solar system, largely because methods for detecting them are only sensitive to massive orbiting bodies. Gaudi et al. (p. 927; see the news story by Kerr) report their observation of two planets with masses less than that of Jupiter orbiting a star of mass half that of our Sun. The discovery was made possible by an improved form of gravitational lensing in which light from distant stars is bent by the planetary system on its way to Earth.

Navigate This Article