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Confirmation of Earth-Mass Planets Orbiting the Millisecond Pulsar PSR B1257+12

Alexander Wolszczan
Science
New Series, Vol. 264, No. 5158 (Apr. 22, 1994), pp. 538-542
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2883699
Page Count: 5
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Confirmation of Earth-Mass Planets Orbiting the Millisecond Pulsar PSR B1257+12
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Abstract

The discovery of two Earth-mass planets orbiting an old (∼10$^9$ years), rapidly spinning neutron star, the 6.2-millisecond radio pulsar PSR B1257+12, was announced in early 1992. It was soon pointed out that the approximately 3:2 ratio of the planets' orbital periods should lead to accurately predictable and possibly measurable gravitational perturbations of their orbits. The unambiguous detection of this effect, after 3 years of systematic timing observations of PSR B1257+12 with the 305-meter Arecibo radiotelescope, as well as the discovery of another, moon-mass object in orbit around the pulsar, constitutes irrefutable evidence that the first planetary system around a star other than the sun has been identified.

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