Tennessee State University Research Astronomy teams helps find planetary system 54 light years from Earth

A ground based search for exoplanets featuring a new computer-run planet hunter has located a system of three “super Earths” orbiting a Sun-like star about 54 light years from Earth.

The team of astronomers who made the discovery used the Doppler method, in which “wobbles” resulting from the gravitational pull of orbiting planets on the parent star are measured.

That star, HD7924, is visible to the naked eye in the sky of Earth’s northern hemisphere.

All three planets are approximately six to seven Earth masses and orbit HD7924 closer than Mercury orbits our Sun, with periods of five, 15, and 24 days.

The research team, which included scientists from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa; the University of California at Berkeley; the University of California Observatories, and Tennessee State University, found the planets using three ground-based telescopes–the Automated Planet Finder (APF) Telescope at Lick Observatory in California; the W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea, Hawaiʻi, and the Automatic Photometric Telescope (APT) at Fairborn Observatory in Arizona.

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