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Nature30 January 2003

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Extrasolar planets: Disk worlds

Over 100 extrasolar planets have been detected by precise measurement of stellar radial velocities, revealing the planet via gravitational effects on its companion. Just one of these planets has been seen transiting the host star, an event that raises the game as far as determining a planet's properties is concerned. Size and density can be worked out from photometric and radio velocity data obtained during transition. A project called OGLE, the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment, identified 59 stars that might have transiting planets, and a planet has now been confirmed as crossing one of these stars. It is the hottest planet known, in the tightest known orbit. A gas giant with a radius 1.3 times that of Jupiter, it takes 2 hours to cross the star's disk.

letters to nature
An extrasolar planet that transits the disk of its parent star
MACIEJ KONACKI, GUILLERMO TORRES, SAURABH JHA & DIMITAR D. SASSELOV
Nature 421, 507–509 (2003); doi:10.1038/nature01379
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news and views
Astronomy: Distant planet is the hottest yet
TIMOTHY M. BROWN
The first planet beyond our Solar System to be detected by means of the transit method has now been found to orbit its star almost twenty times closer than Mercury orbits the Sun.
Nature 421, 488–489 (2003); doi:10.1038/421488a
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30 January 2003 table of contents

  
  © 2003 Nature Publishing Group