steorra: Jupiter's moon Europa (europa)
[personal profile] steorra posting in [community profile] astronomy
The smallest solar system yet discovered, including the smallest known extrasolar planets, has recently been announced.

Here is a news release from NASA.

And here is a longer one from Caltech.

The three planets are all smaller than earth in diameter; the smallest is about the size of Mars. They orbit a red dwarf star whose diameter not even twice as big as Jupiter's, although it'll be a lot more massive. (Neither of the articles gives an estimate of the mass of the red dwarf star that I can see.) And the distances of the planets from their star are similar to those of Jupiter's moons from Jupiter, making it seem almost more comparable to Jupiter + moons than to Sun + planets.

Date: 2012-01-13 02:09 am (UTC)
quoththeravyn: El Greco style Don Quixote pic from xkcd.com (Default)
From: [personal profile] quoththeravyn
My handy "exoplanet" app lists the mass of the M4-type primary as 0.13 solar masses. I can't find KOI-961 in the table at exoplanets.org, though; maybe they'll update it soon?

For comparison, Jupiter is a milli-sun, 0.001 solar masses.

Date: 2012-01-13 02:19 am (UTC)
quoththeravyn: El Greco style Don Quixote pic from xkcd.com (Default)
From: [personal profile] quoththeravyn
No problem. I think the app feeds from this site: http://exoplanet.eu/star.php?st=KOI-961 which quotes the same number. Also references!

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