A group of astronomers have now discovered a system of three super-Earths around a rather normal star, which is slightly less massive than our Sun, and is located 42 light-years away towards the southern Doradus and Pictor constellations. 'We have made very precise measurements of the velocity of the star HD 40307 over the last five years, which clearly reveal the presence of three planets.
' The 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. 'The perturbations induced by the planets are really tiny — the mass of the smallest planets is one hundred thousand times smaller than that of the star — and only the high sensitivity of HARPS made it possible to detect them' says co-author François Bouchy, from the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, France. Clearly these planets are only the tip of the iceberg.