IRAS: Other planetary systems

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Abstract

The search is on. After IRAS (Infrared Astronomy Satellite) resolved cool (85 K), thermally emitting masses apparently in orbit around the hot (10,000 K) star Vega during the spring of 1983, considerable efforts have been made to identify other solar systems and planets. Right now observers accept any size planets, even 20 μ diameter orbiting particles as in the case of the Vega system, as a step in the direction that could conceivably lead to discovery of a solar system like our own. (See Eos, March 13, 1984, p. 97.)

In December 1983, IRAS results had been processed further. Among the many results, IRAS had found another solar system, again probably with only protoplanets. The star Formulhaut, like Vega, a well-known navigational aid, has a similar protoplanetary system.

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