Addition of 18 new planets in our discovery

Twin telescopes at Keck Observatory in Hawaii
Twin telescopes at Keck Observatory in Hawaii

Researchers have found 18 new planets.

This research has been done by a team of astronomers led by scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and published in the December issue of The Astrophysical Journal Supplement series.

According to the first author, John Johnson, who is assistant professor of astronomy at Caltech, this is the largest number of planets discovered at a time and announced in a single session. These planets are revolving around a star that is more massive than our sun.

Researchers have used the Keck Observatory in Hawaii — with follow-up observations using the McDonald and Fairborn Observatories in Texas and Arizona, respectively — and surveyed about 300 stars and while research focused on those stars that are referred to as “retired” A-type stars and are 1.5 times more massive than sun. The planets, which researchers have found, have masses almost similar to Jupiter’s.

This research represents a 50% increase in the number of known planets revolving about massive stars. Moreover, according to researchers this study supports the hypothesis that planets grow from seed particles that accumulate gas and dust in a disk surrounding a newborn star.


John Asher Johnson, Christian Clanton, Andrew W. Howard, Brendan P. Bowler, Gregory W. Henry, Geoffrey W. Marcy, Justin R. Crepp, Michael Endl, William D. Cochran, Phillip J. MacQueen, Jason T. Wright, Howard Isaacson, (2011). Retired A Stars and Their Companions. VII. 18 New Jovian Planets. The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, DOI: 10.1088/0067-0049/197/2/26

Further Reading:

California Institute of Technology

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