An international team of astronomers has discovered the third nearest exoplanet to our Solar System – at a distance of just eight light years. The discovery was made possible thanks to measurements by the SOPHIE spectrograph on the 1.93-metre-telescope of the Observatoire de Haute Provence. The planet, which is three times heavier than Earth, orbits the M-dwarf star Gliese 411, situated in Ursa Major. Probably rocky, it is, with Proxima Centauri b, the terrestrial planet most amenable to direct characterisation.


1.93-metre-telescope of the Observatoire de Haute Provence. ©CNRS/OHP

The laboratories involved in this research are: l’Institut de planétologie et d’astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG, Université Grenoble-Alpes/CNRS), le Laboratoire d’astrophysique de Marseille (LAM, Aix-Marseille Université/CNRS/CNES), l’Institut d’astrophysique de Paris (IAP, CNRS/Université Pierre & Marie Curie), l’Observatoire de Haute-Provence (OHP, CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université/Institut Pythéas).


F. Díaz, X. Delfosse, M. J. Hobson, I. Boisse, N. Astudillo-Defru, X. Bonfils, G. W. Henry, et al. The SOPHIE search for northern extrasolar planets. XIV. A temperate (Teq∼300 K) super-earth around the nearby star Gliese 411, accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics


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