Mass planet Jupiter orbiting Epsilon Eridani

This is an artist’s concept of a planet of the mass of Jupiter orbiting the nearby star Epsilon Eridani. Located 10.5 light years away, it is the closest known exoplanet to our solar system. The planet is in an elliptical orbit which carries it as close to the star as the Earth is from the Sun, and as far from the star as Jupiter is from the Sun. Credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)

The concept of this artist is that of a Jupiter-Mass planet orbiting neighboring star Epsilon Eridani. Located 10.5 light years away, it was the closest known exoplanet to our solar system when it was discovered in 2007. The planet is in an elliptical orbit that carries it as close to the star as the Earth is from the Sun and as far from the star as Jupiter is from the Sun. Sun.

Epsilon Eridandi is a young star, only 800 million years old. It is still surrounded by a disk of dust that stretches 20 billion kilometers from the star. The disc appears as a linear sheet of reflective dust in this view because it is viewed from the side from the planet’s orbit, which is in the same plane as the dust disc.

The rings and satellites of the planet are purely hypothetical from this point of view, but plausible. As a gas giant, the planet is uninhabitable for life as we know it. However, all moons can have the right conditions for life.

Astronomers determined the mass and orbital tilt of the planet in 2006 using Hubble to measure the gravitational pull of the invisible planet on the star as it slowly moved across the sky. Evidence for the planet first emerged in 2000 when astronomers measured a telltale oscillation in the star.


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Arline J. Mercier

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