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© 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley Extrasolar Planets Since our Sun has a family of planets, shouldnt other stars have them as.

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Presentation on theme: "© 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley Extrasolar Planets Since our Sun has a family of planets, shouldnt other stars have them as."— Presentation transcript:

1 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley Extrasolar Planets Since our Sun has a family of planets, shouldnt other stars have them as well? –Planets which orbit other stars are called extrasolar planets. We finally obtained direct evidence of the existence of an extrasolar planet in the year –A planet was discovered in orbit around the star 51 Pegasi. –Over 100 such extrasolar planets are now known to exist.

2 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley 47 Ursa Majoris B Sun like parent star 44 light years away Mass = 2.4 x mass of Jupiter Orbital period of three years

3 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley Detecting Extrasolar Planets Can we actually make images of extrasolar planets? –NO, this is very difficult to do. The distances to the nearest stars are much greater than the distances from a star to its planets. The angle between a star and its planets, as seen from Earth, is too small to resolve with our biggest telescopes.

4 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley Detecting Extrasolar Planets We detect the planets indirectly by observing the star. Planet gravitationally tugs the star, causing it to wobble. This periodic wobble is measured from the Doppler Shift of the stars spectrum.

5 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley Finding Planets: The Doppler Method Planet causes star to wobble. The wobble causes a very small change in the color of the starlight. This color change can be detected.

6 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley Finding Planets: The Doppler Method Very effective (effects as small as 10 m/s or 20 mph) Limited to very massive (Jupiter-like) planets.

7 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley Measuring the Properties of Extrasolar Planets A plot of the radial velocity shifts forms a wave. –Its wavelength tells you the period and size of the planets orbit. –Its amplitude tells you the mass of the planet.

8 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley The Transit Method Just like an eclipse. Detects the dimming of the star as a planet passes in front of it..

9 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley Measuring the Properties of Extrasolar Planets The Doppler technique yields only planet masses and orbits. Planet must eclipse or transit the star in order to measure its radius. Size of the planet is estimated from the amount of starlight it blocks. We must view along the plane of the planets orbit for a transit to occur. –transits are relatively rare They allow us to calculate the density of the planet. –extrasolar planets we have detected have Jovian-like densities.

10 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley Over 100 planets known outside the Solar System today

11 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley Properties of Other Planetary Systems planets appear to be Jovian more massive than our system planets are close to their stars many more highly eccentric orbits than in our Solar System

12 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley Implications for the Nebular Theory Extrasolar systems have Jovian planets orbiting close to their stars. –Theory predicts Jovian planets form in cold, outer regions. Many extrasolar planets have highly eccentric orbits. –Theory predicts planets should have nearly circular orbits. Is the nebular theory wrong? –Not necessarily; it may be incomplete. –Perhaps planets form far from star and migrate towards it. –Doppler technique biased towards finding close Jovian planets –Are they the exception or the rule? –Migrating Jovians could prevent terrestrials from forming –Is our Solar Solar System rare?

13 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley The First Planet Outside our Solar System Discovered by : Prof. Wolszczan, Penn State (1991) Orbits a pulsar (dead star). Probably not habitable. 3-4 times the mass of the Earth

14 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley Over 100 planets known outside the Solar System today

15 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley Finding Terrestrial Planets Earth-size planets are difficult to find. They are much less massive and much smaller than Jovian planets. Can we see them directly?

16 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley Can we see Earth- size planets?

17 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley Finding Terrestrial Planets NASA Terrestrial Planet Finder: Uses interferometry between five infrared space telescopes.

18 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley Spectroscopy of Transiting Atmospheres HST can detect elements in atmosphere of transiting planet

19 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley EARTH : A Planet with Life The presence of ozone and water in a planets atmosphere are signs that it harbors life.

20 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley So Far… There are many planets and planetary systems out there We see disks around stars Over the last 10 years we have discovered 147 planets and counting Will we find more?

21 © 2005 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley OWL Concept ESO TPF: 30m-100m class optical telescope. The next decade in astronomy might provide strong evidence for life outside our solar system!


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