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Press Release 08-093
Small Planet, Small Star

Newly discovered extrasolar planet is the smallest known and has smallest host star

Back to article | Note about images

Artist's conception of the newly discovered planet MOA-2007-BLG-192Lb orbiting its star.

Artist's conception of the newly discovered planet MOA-2007-BLG-192Lb orbiting a brown dwarf "star" with a mass of only 6 percent of that of the Sun. Theory suggests that the 3-Earth-mass planet is made primarily of rock and ice. Observational and theoretical studies of brown dwarfs reveal that they have a magenta color due to absorption by elements such as sodium and potassium in their atmospheres. If the host star has a mass of 9 percent of that of the Sun, at the other end of the margin of error for the new microlensing data, the star would be a red dwarf about 100 times brighter than the brown dwarf, but 1000 times fainter than the Sun.

Credit: NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program


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David Bennett, associate professor of physics at the University of Notre Dame, discusses the most recent extrasolar planet discovery using the microlensing method.

Credit: National Science Foundation / University of Notre Dame

 

Illustration of gravitational microlensing.

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This animation explains gravitational microlensing.

Credit: Trent Schindler, National Science Foundation

 

Illustration showing the signature distortion caused by gravity.

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This animation explains how gravitational microlensing detects planets.

Credit: Andrew Williams, University of Western Australia / Trent Schindler, National Science Foundation

 



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