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Paper: Follow the Dust: Discovery of an Exosolar Planet in Fomalhaut's Debris Disk
Volume: 450, Molecules in the Atmospheres of Extrasolar Planets
Page: 191
Authors: Clampin, M.; Kalas, P.; Graham, J.; Chiang, E.
Abstract: Fomalhaut is one of the IRAS "big four" infrared excess stars. The debris disk is associated with the IR excess is resolved in the visible to sub-mm. It is an attractive target for an exoplanet search because the debris disk morphology is consistent with dynamical sculpting by one or more planets; it is a nearby (7.69 pc) star; and is relatively young (100 - 300 Myr) offering the possibility that any planets would still be radiating heat from their formation. We report here on an optical detection of an exoplanet candidate, Fomalhaut b. Fomalhaut b lies about 119 astronomical units (AU) from the star, and our observations separated by 1.73 years reveal counterclockwise orbital motion. Dynamical models of the interaction between the planet and the belt indicate that the planet’s mass is at most three times that of Jupiter. The flux detected at 0.8 μm is also consistent with that of a planet with mass no greater than a few times that of Jupiter. The brightness at 0.6 μm and the lack of detection at longer wavelengths suggest that the detected flux may include starlight reflected off a circumplanetary disk, with dimension comparable to the orbits of the Galilean satellites.
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