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Mr. Milton Banana
2004-May-31, 02:25 PM
When I was younger, I read about Banyard's Star (hope I got the name right), a red dwarf, having a Jovian planet going around it.

Is this true, or just an urban legend?

:-k

Bozola
2004-May-31, 02:32 PM
When I was younger, I read about Banyard's Star (hope I got the name right), a red dwarf, having a Jovian planet going around it.

Is this true, or just an urban legend?

:-k

Barnard's star.

Suburban legend, more like, given it's distance. The presence of a planet is so far unverified.

http://www.seds.org/~spider/spider/Misc/barnard.html

Tom Mazanec
2004-May-31, 03:37 PM
Peter van de Kamp made observations which seemed to show perturbations in Barnard's Stars motion that he attributed to a Jovian which turned out to be from an upgrade of his telescope during the observation period.

ChesleyFan
2004-May-31, 04:33 PM
Tom's right. Peter van de Kamp was the director of Sproul Observatory, and used a 24-inch refractor to observe Barnard's star in the later 50s-early 60s, and first published his results in 1963, saying that he discovered a 1.6-Jupiter mass planet in an eccentric orbit around Barnard's star. He didn't like the fact that the orbit was eccentric, so in a second paper in 1968 he reevaluated the data and concluded that there were in fact two planets around Barnard's star, both in circular orbits.

In 1973 a colleague of van de Kamp's at Sproul, John Hersey, published a paper showing that another star, Glise 793, showed the exact same wobble in it's position as Barnard's star, and that these wobbles coincided to when the refractor's lenses has been cleaned and realigned. Van de Kamp died still believing he discovered the first planet(s) around another star, though, and as late as the eighties you'd still find references to one or both his planets in astronomy texts.

Hubble observed Barnard's star in 1996 (I think?) and found no evidence for van de Kamp's planets.

It should be noted that van de Kamp was NOT the first astronomer to announce the possible existence of an extrasolarplanet. As early as the 1940s two groups of independent observers published results that hinted at planets orbiting the double stars 70 Ophiuchi and 61 Cygni. Ironically van de Kamp criticized the results as premature and their discoverers as too presumtuous; and as a final irony, the 61 Cygni results were obtained with the same 24-inch refractor that van de Kamp used two decades later!

For some odd reason, author Consolmango of "Turn Left at Orion" mentions the possibility of a star around 61 Cygni!