Shaw Laureate Michel Mayor and Astronomers Discovered A Triple System of Super-Earths

9 Jul 2008

A team of European astronomers led by Shaw Laureate, Professor Michel Mayor have announced a significant breakthrough in the field of extra-solar planets at an international conference held earlier in France.

Professor Michel Mayor

With the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) at the ESO La Silla Observatory, the team has found a triple system of super-Earths around the star HD40307. Professor Mayor said that they had made very precise measurement of the velocity of the star HD40307 over the last five years, which clearly revealed the presence of three planets. These planets having 4.2, 6.7 and 9.4 times the mass of the Earth, orbit the star with periods of 4.3, 9.6 and 20.4 days respectively.

Professor Mayor added that they might not yet know if every single star does harbour planets but their recent discovery did make huge progress towards it.

(Retrieved 18 June 2008 from

Professor Michel Mayor is a Shaw Laureate in Astronomy 2005 and currently a member of the Selection Committee of the Shaw Prize. The Shaw Prize is awarded annually by the Shaw Prize Foundation in Hong Kong in Astronomy, Life Science and Medicine and Mathematical Sciences, each of the three prizes bears a monetary award of one million US dollars. The Shaw Laureates for 2008 have just been announced and this is the fifth year that the Shaw Prize has been awarded. The presentation ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday.

July 9, 2008 Hong Kong