Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2009 Dec 17;462(7275):891-4.
doi: 10.1038/nature08679.

A super-Earth Transiting a Nearby Low-Mass Star

Affiliations

A super-Earth Transiting a Nearby Low-Mass Star

David Charbonneau et al. Nature. .

Abstract

A decade ago, the detection of the first transiting extrasolar planet provided a direct constraint on its composition and opened the door to spectroscopic investigations of extrasolar planetary atmospheres. Because such characterization studies are feasible only for transiting systems that are both nearby and for which the planet-to-star radius ratio is relatively large, nearby small stars have been surveyed intensively. Doppler studies and microlensing have uncovered a population of planets with minimum masses of 1.9-10 times the Earth's mass (M[symbol:see text]), called super-Earths. The first constraint on the bulk composition of this novel class of planets was afforded by CoRoT-7b (refs 8, 9), but the distance and size of its star preclude atmospheric studies in the foreseeable future. Here we report observations of the transiting planet GJ 1214b, which has a mass of 6.55M[symbol:see text]), and a radius 2.68 times Earth's radius (R[symbol:see text]), indicating that it is intermediate in stature between Earth and the ice giants of the Solar System. We find that the planetary mass and radius are consistent with a composition of primarily water enshrouded by a hydrogen-helium envelope that is only 0.05% of the mass of the planet. The atmosphere is probably escaping hydrodynamically, indicating that it has undergone significant evolution during its history. The star is small and only 13 parsecs away, so the planetary atmosphere is amenable to study with current observatories.

Similar articles

  • A rocky planet transiting a nearby low-mass star.
    Berta-Thompson ZK, Irwin J, Charbonneau D, Newton ER, Dittmann JA, Astudillo-Defru N, Bonfils X, Gillon M, Jehin E, Stark AA, Stalder B, Bouchy F, Delfosse X, Forveille T, Lovis C, Mayor M, Neves V, Pepe F, Santos NC, Udry S, Wünsche A. Berta-Thompson ZK, et al. Nature. 2015 Nov 12;527(7577):204-7. doi: 10.1038/nature15762. Nature. 2015. PMID: 26560298
  • A temperate rocky super-Earth transiting a nearby cool star.
    Dittmann JA, Irwin JM, Charbonneau D, Bonfils X, Astudillo-Defru N, Haywood RD, Berta-Thompson ZK, Newton ER, Rodriguez JE, Winters JG, Tan TG, Almenara JM, Bouchy F, Delfosse X, Forveille T, Lovis C, Murgas F, Pepe F, Santos NC, Udry S, Wünsche A, Esquerdo GA, Latham DW, Dressing CD. Dittmann JA, et al. Nature. 2017 Apr 19;544(7650):333-336. doi: 10.1038/nature22055. Nature. 2017. PMID: 28426003
  • M stars as targets for terrestrial exoplanet searches and biosignature detection.
    Scalo J, Kaltenegger L, Segura A, Fridlund M, Ribas I, Kulikov YN, Grenfell JL, Rauer H, Odert P, Leitzinger M, Selsis F, Khodachenko ML, Eiroa C, Kasting J, Lammer H. Scalo J, et al. Astrobiology. 2007 Feb;7(1):85-166. doi: 10.1089/ast.2006.0125. Astrobiology. 2007. PMID: 17407405 Review.
  • One or more bound planets per Milky Way star from microlensing observations.
    Cassan A, Kubas D, Beaulieu JP, Dominik M, Horne K, Greenhill J, Wambsganss J, Menzies J, Williams A, Jørgensen UG, Udalski A, Bennett DP, Albrow MD, Batista V, Brillant S, Caldwell JA, Cole A, Coutures Ch, Cook KH, Dieters S, Prester DD, Donatowicz J, Fouqué P, Hill K, Kains N, Kane S, Marquette JB, Martin R, Pollard KR, Sahu KC, Vinter C, Warren D, Watson B, Zub M, Sumi T, Szymański MK, Kubiak M, Poleski R, Soszynski I, Ulaczyk K, Pietrzyński G, Wyrzykowski L. Cassan A, et al. Nature. 2012 Jan 11;481(7380):167-9. doi: 10.1038/nature10684. Nature. 2012. PMID: 22237108
  • Spectral signatures of photosynthesis. II. Coevolution with other stars and the atmosphere on extrasolar worlds.
    Kiang NY, Segura A, Tinetti G, Govindjee, Blankenship RE, Cohen M, Siefert J, Crisp D, Meadows VS. Kiang NY, et al. Astrobiology. 2007 Feb;7(1):252-74. doi: 10.1089/ast.2006.0108. Astrobiology. 2007. PMID: 17407410 Review.
See all similar articles

Cited by 25 articles

  • Large H2O solubility in dense silica and its implications for the interiors of water-rich planets.
    Nisr C, Chen H, Leinenweber K, Chizmeshya A, Prakapenka VB, Prescher C, Tkachev SN, Meng Y, Liu Z, Shim SH. Nisr C, et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 May 5;117(18):9747-9754. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1917448117. Epub 2020 Apr 20. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020. PMID: 32312811
  • IDENTIFYING PLANETARY BIOSIGNATURE IMPOSTORS: SPECTRAL FEATURES OF CO AND O4 RESULTING FROM ABIOTIC O2/O3 PRODUCTION.
    Schwieterman EW, Meadows VS, Domagal-Goldman SD, Deming D, Arney GN, Luger R, Harman CE, Misra A, Barnes R. Schwieterman EW, et al. Astrophys J Lett. 2016 Mar 1;Volume 819(No 1):L34. doi: 10.3847/2041-8205/819/1/L13. Epub 2016 Feb 25. Astrophys J Lett. 2016. PMID: 30147857 Free PMC article.
  • Exoplanet Biosignatures: Observational Prospects.
    Fujii Y, Angerhausen D, Deitrick R, Domagal-Goldman S, Grenfell JL, Hori Y, Kane SR, Pallé E, Rauer H, Siegler N, Stapelfeldt K, Stevenson KB. Fujii Y, et al. Astrobiology. 2018 Jun;18(6):739-778. doi: 10.1089/ast.2017.1733. Astrobiology. 2018. PMID: 29938537 Free PMC article. Review.
  • The Astrobiology Primer v2.0.
    Domagal-Goldman SD, Wright KE, Adamala K, Arina de la Rubia L, Bond J, Dartnell LR, Goldman AD, Lynch K, Naud ME, Paulino-Lima IG, Singer K, Walther-Antonio M, Abrevaya XC, Anderson R, Arney G, Atri D, Azúa-Bustos A, Bowman JS, Brazelton WJ, Brennecka GA, Carns R, Chopra A, Colangelo-Lillis J, Crockett CJ, DeMarines J, Frank EA, Frantz C, de la Fuente E, Galante D, Glass J, Gleeson D, Glein CR, Goldblatt C, Horak R, Horodyskyj L, Kaçar B, Kereszturi A, Knowles E, Mayeur P, McGlynn S, Miguel Y, Montgomery M, Neish C, Noack L, Rugheimer S, Stüeken EE, Tamez-Hidalgo P, Imari Walker S, Wong T. Domagal-Goldman SD, et al. Astrobiology. 2016 Aug;16(8):561-653. doi: 10.1089/ast.2015.1460. Astrobiology. 2016. PMID: 27532777 Free PMC article. Review. No abstract available.
  • Thermodynamics, Disequilibrium, Evolution: Far-From-Equilibrium Geological and Chemical Considerations for Origin-Of-Life Research.
    Barge LM, Branscomb E, Brucato JR, Cardoso SS, Cartwright JH, Danielache SO, Galante D, Kee TP, Miguel Y, Mojzsis S, Robinson KJ, Russell MJ, Simoncini E, Sobron P. Barge LM, et al. Orig Life Evol Biosph. 2017 Mar;47(1):39-56. doi: 10.1007/s11084-016-9508-z. Epub 2016 Jun 6. Orig Life Evol Biosph. 2017. PMID: 27271006 No abstract available.
See all "Cited by" articles

References

    1. Astrophys J. 2000 Jan 20;529(1):L41-L44 - PubMed
    1. Astrophys J. 2000 Jan 20;529(1):L45-L48 - PubMed
    1. Nature. 2006 Jan 26;439(7075):437-40 - PubMed
    1. Science. 2009 Aug 7;325(5941):709 - PubMed

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback