RESEARCH
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The HARPS search for southern extra-solar planets
XVIII. An Earth-mass planet in the GJ 581 planetary system

M. Mayor, X. Bonfils, T. Forveille, X. Delfosse, S. Udry, J.-L. Bertaux, H. Beust, F. Bouchy, C. Lovis, F. Pepe, C. Perrier, D. Queloz, N. C. Santos

Abstract
The GJ 581 planetary system is already known to harbour three planets, including two super-Earth planets that straddle its habitable zone. We report the detection of an additional planet – GJ 581e – with a minimum mass of 1.9 M. With a period of 3.15 days, it is the innermost planet of the system and has a ~5% transit probability.
We also correct our previous confusion about the orbital period of GJ 581d (the outermost planet) with a one-year alias, benefitting from an extended time span and many more measurements. The revised period is 66.8 days, and positions the semi-major axis inside the habitable zone of the low mass star.
The dynamical stability of the 4-planet system imposes an upper bound on the orbital plane inclination. The planets cannot be more massive than approximately 1.6 times their minimum mass.

Keywords
planetary systems – stars: late-type – techniques: radial velocities - stars: individual: GJ581

Notes
Based on observations made with the HARPS instrument on the ESO 3.6 m telescope under the GTO and LP programs 072.C-0488 and 183.C-0437 at Cerro La Silla (Chile). Our radial-velocity, photometric and Ca II H+K index time series (Table 1) are available in electronic form at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/507/487

Astronomy and Astrophysics
Volume 507, Number 1, Page 487
2009 November

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Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia