Small Telescopes Advance Astronomy
A team led by researchers at University of Geneva have used SOPHIE Spectrograph for the last seven years to observe the star HD 158259 closely. It has found that the star has six planetary companions, a 'super-earth' and five 'mini-neptunes'. They also observed regularity in spacing between the planets which gave insights into how the system may have been formed. It was found that the planets work in a framework of resonance. The period ratio of any two subsequent planets is close to 3.2. This means the one closest to the start completes three orbits, while the second one completes two and as the second one completes three, the next one completes two and so on. Several planets are said to be in resonance when they find themselves in the same configuration periodically after completing a potential number of orbits. SOPHIE was first installed in 2006 but more insights are emerging due to use of better measurements and signal processing techniques. Smaller telescopes can advance astronomy with the help of high-quality research in observatories.