14 Herculis b is an extrasolar planet 59 light years away from Earth. It was discovered on July 6th, 1998. The planet has roughly the same size as Jupiter, but it is much more massive. At the time of its discovery, it was the longest orbital period found in an extrasolar planet, however, longer-period planets have been subsequently discovered. The orbital period of 14 Herculis b is 1773.4 earth days.
Like the majority of known extrasolar planets, 14 Herculis b was detected by measuring variations in its star's radial velocity as a result of the planet's gravity. This was done by making precise measurements of the Doppler shift of the spectrum of 14 Herculis. Prior to this analysis, another possible explanation of previous Doppler shift analysis included face-on spectroscopic binaries.
Orbit and massEdit
Preliminary astrometric measurements made by the Hipparcos satellite suggest that this planet has an orbital inclination of 155.3° with respect to plane of the sky, which would imply a true mass of 11.1 times that of Jupiter, close to the deuterium burning threshold that some astronomers use to define the distinction between a planet and a brown dwarf. However subsequent analysis suggests that the Hipparcos measurements were not precise enough to accurately determine the orbits, so the actual inclination and true mass of the planet remains unknown.
Because of the wide seperation between this planet and its host star, and the proximity of the 14 Herculis system to the Sun, it is a promising candidate for direct imaging of the planet, as the angular sparation of the planet and host star will be large enough that the light from the planet and star might be spatially resolved. However, a search made using the adaptive optics CFHT 3.60m telescope on Mauna Kea did not make such a detection, confirming the object is not a star.