PSR B1257+12 and the First Confirmed Planets Beyond the Solar System
We describe the survey and timing observations conducted in early 1990 with the Arecibo radio telescope, which have led to the discovery of the first confirmed extrasolar planetary system consisting of three low-mass planets, orbiting the 6.2-ms millisecond pulsar, PSR B1257+12. The existence of planets around a neutron star has carried with it a now fulfilled promise that planets should be common around the various types of stars. Furthermore, the architecture of the PSR B1257+12 system offered an early preview of the future discoveries of the very common compact systems of superEarth-mass planets by the Kepler telescope and ground-based radial velocity surveys.
The Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds is supported by the Pennsylvania State University and the Eberly College of Science. The Arecibo Observatory is operated by the SRI International under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (AST-1100968) and in alliance with Ana G. Méndez-Universidad Metropolitana and the Universities Space Research Association.
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