Minimum mass is a widely cited statistic for extrasolar planets detected by the radial velocity method. This method reveals planets by measuring changes in the movement of stars in the line-of-sight, so the real orbital inclinations and true masses of the planets are generally unknown.
If inclination can be determined, the true mass can be obtained from the calculated minimum mass using the following relationship:
For orbiting bodies in extrasolar stellar and planetary systems, an inclination of 0° or 180° corresponds to a face-on orbit (which cannot be observed by radial velocity), while an inclination of 90° corresponds to an edge-on orbit (for which the true mass equals the minimum mass).
- Kuchner, Marc J.; Kuchner, Marc J. (09-2004). "A Minimum-Mass Extrasolar Nebula". The American Astronomical Society 612 (2): 1147–1151. arXiv:astro-ph/0405536. Bibcode:2004ApJ...612.1147K. doi:10.1086/422577.
- "The minimum mass ratio of W UMa-type binary systems". Monthly Notes of the Royal Astronomical Society 377 (4): 1635–1637. June 2007. Bibcode:2007MNRAS.377.1635A. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2007.11723.x. Retrieved 2008-05-24.
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