Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald

[LINK] The Upsilon Andromedae system

Originally found here in a post by Tumblr user universalnomad, this shows the orbits of the four planets found orbiting the star Upsilon Andromedae A, 44 light years away. More massive and substantially brighter than our sun, Upsilon Andromedae A supports four planets in the mass range of Jupiter. Noteworthy is the fact that not all of these planets orbit in the same plane, as is the case in our solar system; in fact, d orbits at a very sharp angle indeed. In many respects, Upsilon Andromedae A's planets are unexpected.

Upsilon Andromedae system

Upsilon Andromedae A is not only a young star, at 2.6 billion years a bit more than half as old as our star, but it is a young and bright star--more or less 27% heavier than Sol, a F8V white-yellow dwarf star with a total luminosity 3.57 times as bright as our own sun. A planet orbiting Upsilon Andromedae A at the distance of Earth from our sun would quickly be baked. The planet Upsilon Andromedae d--approximately 2.54 AU from its sun on average but roughly 1.88 AU at closest encounter and 3.19 AU at its furthest, with a year 3.49 Earth years long--does orbit within the habitable zone of Upsilon Andromedae A. While d is a superjovian gas giant and so can't support Earth-like life, conceivably it could host planet-sized moons that might support life.
Tags: extraterrestrial life, links, maps, space science
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