Astronomers have discovered a Saturn-sized planet closely orbiting a small, cool star 35 light-years from Earth using the Very Long Baseline Array. This unique telescope consists of an array of several antennas separated by as much as 5,000 miles (one of which is located on the slopes of Maunakea), and can provide extremely high precision measurements of a star’s position in the sky. Starting in June of 2018 and continuing for a year and a half, the astronomers tracked the actual motion in space of this stellar system, known as TVLM 513–46546. They were then able to detect a minuscule “wobble” in that motion caused by the gravitational effect of the planet. More than 4,200 planets have been discovered orbiting stars other than our Sun, but the planet around TVLM 513–46546 is the first to be found using this astrometric technique on a radio telescope.
Read more, and interact with the star/planet system in augmented reality, in the VLBA observatory press release.