Gliese 436

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Gliese 436
Observation data
Epoch J2000      Equinox J2000
Constellation Leo
Right ascension 11h 42m 11.09368s[1]
Declination +26° 42′ 23.6537″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 10.67[2]
Spectral type M2.5 V[2]
Apparent magnitude (B) ~12.20[3]
Apparent magnitude (V) ~10.68[3]
Apparent magnitude (J) 6.900 ± 0.024[4]
Apparent magnitude (H) 6.319 ± 0.023[4]
Apparent magnitude (K) 6.073 ± 0.016[4]
U−B color index +1.23[5]
B−V color index +1.52[2]
Radial velocity (Rv) +10.0[6] km/s
Proper motion (μ) RA: +896.07[1] mas/yr
Dec.: –813.54[1] mas/yr
Parallax (π) 98.61 ± 2.33[1] mas
Distance 33.1 ± 0.8 ly
(10.1 ± 0.2 pc)
Absolute magnitude (MV) 10.63[2]
Mass 0.41 ± 0.05[2] M
Radius 0.42[7] R
Luminosity 0.025[2] L
Surface gravity (log g) 5.0[8] cgs
Temperature 3,318[7] K
Metallicity [Fe/H] –0.32 ± 0.12[9] dex
Rotation 39.9±0.8 d[10]
Rotational velocity (v sin i) 1.0[11] km/s
Age 7.41–11.05[12] Gyr
Other designations
2MASS J11421096+2642251, GJ 436, HIP 57087, LTT 13213, LHS 310, Ross 905.[5]
Database references
Extrasolar Planets

Gliese 436 is a red dwarf approximately 33.1 light-years (10.1 parsecs) away in the zodiac constellation of Leo. It has an apparent visual magnitude of 10.67,[2] which is much too faint to be seen with the naked eye. However, it can be viewed with even a modest telescope of 2.4 in (6 cm) aperture.[13] In 2004, the existence of a transiting extrasolar planet, Gliese 436b, was verified as orbiting the star. In 2012, the existence of a second planet, UCF-1.01,[14] was also verified.


Gliese 436 is a M2.5V star,[2] which means it is a red dwarf. Stellar models give an estimated size of about 42% of the Sun's radius. The same model predicts that the outer atmosphere has an effective temperature of 3,318 K,[7] giving it the orange-red hue of an M-type star.[15] Small stars such as this generate energy at a low rate, giving it only 2.5% of the Sun's luminosity.[2]

Gliese 436 is older than the Sun by several billion years and it has an abundance of heavy elements (with masses greater than helium-4) equal to 48%[9] that of the Sun. The projected rotation velocity is 1.0 km/s, and the chromosphere has a low level of magnetic activity.[2] Gliese 436 is a member of the "old-disk population" with velocity components in the galactic coordinate system of U=+44, V=−20 and W=+20 km/s.[2]

Planetary system[edit]

The Gliese 436 planetary system
(in order from star)
Mass Semimajor axis
Orbital period
Eccentricity Inclination Radius
UCF-1.01 (unconfirmed) 0.3 M 0.0185 1.3659 ~0 ~0.66 R
b 22 M 0.0291 ± 0.0004 2.64385 ± 0.00009 0.150 ± 0.012 4.33 ± 0.18 R
UCF-1.02 (unconfirmed) ~0.3 M 0.03? 5–6? ~0 ~0.66 R

The star is orbited by one known planet, designated Gliese 436 b. The planet has an orbital period of 2.6 Earth days and transits the star as viewed from Earth. It has a mass of 22.2 Earth masses and is roughly 55,000 km in diameter, giving it a mass and radius similar to the ice giant planets Uranus and Neptune in the Solar System. In general, Doppler spectroscopy measurements do not measure the true mass of the planet, but instead measure the product m sin i, where m is the true mass and i is the inclination of the orbit (the angle between the line-of-sight and the normal to the planet's orbital plane), a quantity that is generally unknown. However, for Gliese 436 b, the transits enable the determination of the inclination, as they show that the planet's orbital plane is very nearly in the line of sight (i.e. that the inclination is close to 90 degrees). Hence the mass quoted is the actual mass. The planet is thought to be largely composed of hot ices with an outer envelope of hydrogen and helium, and is termed a "hot Neptune".[16]

GJ 436 b's orbit is likely misaligned with its star's rotation.[17] In addition the planet's orbit is eccentric. Because tidal forces would tend to circularise the orbit of the planet on short timescales, this suggested that Gliese 436 b is being perturbed by an additional planet orbiting the star.[18]

Possible second planet[edit]

In 2008, a second planet, designated "Gliese 436 c" was claimed to have been discovered, with an orbital period of 5.2 days and an orbital semimajor axis of 0.045 AU.[19] The planet was thought to have a mass of roughly 5 Earth masses and have a radius about 1.5 times larger than the Earth's.[20] Due to its size, the planet was thought to be a rocky, terrestrial planet.[21] It was announced by Spanish scientists in April 2008 by analyzing its influence on the orbit of Gliese 436 b.[20] Further analysis showed that the transit length of the inner planet is not changing, a situation which rules out most possible configurations for this system. Also, if it did orbit at these parameters, the system would be the only "unstable" orbit on UA's Extrasolar Planet Interactions chart. The existence of this "Gliese 436 c" was thus regarded as unlikely,[22] and the discovery was eventually retracted at the Transiting Planets conference in Boston, 2008.[23]

Despite the retraction, studies concluded that the possibility that there is an additional planet orbiting Gliese 436 remained plausible.[24] With the aid of an unnoticed transit automatically recorded at NMSU on January 11, 2005, and observations by amateur astronomers, it has been suggested that there is a trend of increasing inclination of the orbit of Gliese 436 b, though this trend remains unconfirmed. This trend is compatible with a perturbation by a planet of less than 12 Earth masses on an orbit within about 0.08 AU of the star.[25]

Two sub-Earth candidates[edit]

In July 2012, NASA announced that astronomers at the University of Central Florida, using the Spitzer Space Telescope, strongly believe they have observed a second planet.[26] This strong candidate planet was given the preliminary designation UCF-1.01, after the University of Central Florida.[27] It was measured to have a radius of around two thirds that of Earth and, assuming an Earth-like density of 5.5 g/cm3, was estimated to have a mass of 0.3 times that of Earth and a surface gravity of around two thirds that of Earth. It orbits at 0.0185 AU from the star, every 1.3659 days. The astronomers also believe they have found some evidence for an additional planet candidate, UCF-1.02, which is of a similar size, though with only one detected transit its orbital period is unknown. If these planets are confirmed in the future, they may be given the designations "Gliese 436 c" and "Gliese 436 d".[28]


  1. ^ a b c d e van Leeuwen, F. (November 2007). "Validation of the new Hipparcos reduction". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 474 (2): 653–664. arXiv:0708.1752Freely accessible. Bibcode:2007A&A...474..653V. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20078357. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Butler, R. Paul; et al. (2004). "A Neptune-Mass Planet Orbiting the Nearby M Dwarf GJ 436". The Astrophysical Journal. 617 (1): 580–588. arXiv:astro-ph/0408587Freely accessible. Bibcode:2004ApJ...617..580B. doi:10.1086/425173. Retrieved 2009-12-26. 
  3. ^ a b Reid, I. Neill; et al. (July 2004), "Meeting the Cool Neighbors. VIII. A Preliminary 20 Parsec Census from the NLTT Catalogue", The Astronomical Journal, 128 (1): 463–483, arXiv:astro-ph/0404061Freely accessible, Bibcode:2004AJ....128..463R, doi:10.1086/421374 
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  5. ^ a b "Query Result:LHS 310 -- High proper-motion Star". SIMBAD Astronomical Object Database. Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg. Retrieved 2007-11-28. 
  6. ^ Wilson, Ralph Elmer (1953), General Catalogue of Stellar Radial Velocities, Washington: Carnegie Institution of Washington, Bibcode:1953GCRV..C......0W 
  7. ^ a b c Johnson, H. M.; Wright, C. D. (1983). "Predicted infrared brightness of stars within 25 parsecs of the sun". Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. 53: 643–711. Bibcode:1983ApJS...53..643J. doi:10.1086/190905. —see page 673.
  8. ^ Maness, H. L.; et al. (January 2007), "The M Dwarf GJ 436 and its Neptune-Mass Planet", The Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 119 (851): 90–101, arXiv:astro-ph/0608260Freely accessible, Bibcode:2007PASP..119...90M, doi:10.1086/510689 
  9. ^ a b Bean, Jacob L.; Benedict, G. Fritz; Endl, Michael (2006). "Metallicities of M Dwarf Planet Hosts from Spectral Synthesis". The Astrophysical Journal (abstract). 653 (1): L65–L68. arXiv:astro-ph/0611060Freely accessible. Bibcode:2006ApJ...653L..65B. doi:10.1086/510527. —for the metallicity, note that or 48%
  10. ^ Suárez Mascareño, A.; et al. (September 2015), "Rotation periods of late-type dwarf stars from time series high-resolution spectroscopy of chromospheric indicators", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 452 (3): 2745–2756, arXiv:1506.08039Freely accessible, Bibcode:2015MNRAS.452.2745S, doi:10.1093/mnras/stv1441. 
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  12. ^ Saffe, C.; Gómez, M.; Chavero, C. (2006). "On the Ages of Exoplanet Host Stars". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 443 (2): 609–626. arXiv:astro-ph/0510092Freely accessible. Bibcode:2005A&A...443..609S. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20053452. 
  13. ^ Sherrod, P. Clay; Koed, Thomas L. (2003), A Complete Manual of Amateur Astronomy: Tools and Techniques for Astronomical Observations, Astronomy Series, Courier Dover Publications, p. 9, ISBN 0486428206 
  14. ^ New Planet Found: Molten "Mars" Is "Right Around the Corner", Dave Mosher, National Geographic News, July 19, 2012
  15. ^ "The Colour of Stars", Australia Telescope, Outreach and Education, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, December 21, 2004, archived from the original on 2012-03-10, retrieved 2012-01-16 
  16. ^ Gillon, M.; et al. (2007). "Detection of transits of the nearby hot Neptune GJ 436 b". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 472 (2): L13–L16. arXiv:0705.2219Freely accessible. Bibcode:2007A&A...472L..13G. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20077799. 
  17. ^ Knutson, Heather A. (2011). "A Spitzer Transmission Spectrum for the Exoplanet GJ 436b". Astrophysical Journal. 735, 27: 27. arXiv:1104.2901Freely accessible. Bibcode:2011ApJ...735...27K. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/735/1/27. 
  18. ^ Deming, D.; et al. (2007). "Spitzer Transit and Secondary Eclipse Photometry of GJ 436b". The Astrophysical Journal. 667 (2): L199–L202. arXiv:0707.2778Freely accessible. Bibcode:2007ApJ...667L.199D. doi:10.1086/522496. 
  19. ^ Ribas, I.; Font-Ribera, S. & Beaulieu, J. P. (2008). "A ~5 M Super-Earth Orbiting GJ 436?: The Power of Near-Grazing Transits". The Astrophysical Journal. 677 (1): L59–L62. arXiv:0801.3230Freely accessible. Bibcode:2008ApJ...677L..59R. doi:10.1086/587961. 
  20. ^ a b Reuters
  21. ^ "New Super-Earth is Smallest Yet". Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  22. ^ Alonso, R.; et al. (2008). "Limits to the planet candidate GJ 436c". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 487 (1): L5–L8. arXiv:0804.3030Freely accessible. Bibcode:2008A&A...487L...5A. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:200810007. 
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  24. ^ Bean, J. L. & Seifahrt, A. (2008). "Observational Consequences of the Recently Proposed Super-Earth Orbiting GJ436". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 487 (2): L25–L28. arXiv:0806.3270Freely accessible. Bibcode:2008A&A...487L..25B. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:200810278. 
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  27. ^ Powers, Scott (July 18, 2012). "Planet UCF 1.01 is introduced to the world of astronomy". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  28. ^ Stevenson, Kevin B.; et al. (July 2012). "Two nearby sub-Earth-sized exoplanet candidates in the GJ 436 system". The Astrophysical Journal. 755: 9. arXiv:1207.4245Freely accessible. Bibcode:2012ApJ...755....9S. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/755/1/9. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: Sky map 11h 42m 11.0941s, +26° 42′ 23.652″