Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More planets found around Epsilon Eridani

Backman et al have deduced the presence of at least two more planets orbiting the K2V star Epsilon Eridani (a gas giant planet about 1.5 times the mass of Jupiter was detected in 2006 by McArthur et al).

Epsilon Eridani one of the closest stars to our Solar System at a distance of only 10.5 light years.

The paper is due to be published in the Astrophysical Journal in January 2009, but you can read the press release from Harvard/SAO, or a popular press article by Robert Boyd (McClatchy press) now.

Epsilon Eridani appears quite often in speculative fiction. A few examples: Alastair Reynold's Revelation Space novels feature the Epsilon Eridani system quite often. The eponymous space station in the Babylon 5 TV series orbited a planet of Epsilon Eridani. The back story for the Halo computer games feature a planet called Reach orbitting Epsilon Eridani.

[Image from the Harvard/SAO press release. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech]

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