NASA Astronomers Discover Planet Twice The Size Of Earth

NASA Astronomers Discover Planet Twice The Size Of Earth

Dubbed HD 21749b, the globe orbits a nearby dwarf star about 53 light years from Earth, in the constellation Reticulum, and appears to have the longest orbital period of the triad.

It takes HD 21749b 36 days to orbit around its star, which is almost as bright as the Sun. Those planets tear around their stars much more quickly than HD 21749b, completing orbits at 6.3 days and a meagre 11 hours.

An exoplanet three times the size of Earth has been discovered relatively close to our solar system. Why scientists are saying the new planet's surface is relatively cool is because its star is nearly as bright as our very own Sun, the team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston said.

"We think this planet wouldn't be as gaseous as Neptune or Uranus, which are mostly hydrogen and really puffy", discovery team leader Diana Dragomir, a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, said in a statement. "We know a lot about atmospheres of hot planets, but because it's very hard to find small planets that orbit farther from their stars, and are therefore cooler, we haven't been able to learn much about these smaller, cooler planets". "But here, we were lucky and caught this one and can now study it in more detail".

The Kepler mission has spotted thousands of exoplanets since 2014, with 30 planets less than twice the size of Earth now known to orbit within the habitable zones of their stars. But the gas that makes it up it is probably more dense than that of Uranus or Neptune.

Johanna Teske, a Hubble fellow and co-author of the report, said: "I'm very interested to know whether [it] has an Earth-like density to match its Earth-like radius - this will contribute to our understanding whether Earth-sized planets have diverse compositions or are all roughly similar to Earth".

Launched from Cape Canaveral on March 7th 2009, the Kepler telescope has helped in the search for planets outside of the solar system.

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Since it launched in April 2018, TESS, an MIT-led mission, has been monitoring the sky, sector by sector, for momentary dips in the light of about 200,000 nearby stars. For what it's worth, several TESS finds have been the subject of pre-print research papers.

The inquisitive students made the finding by sifting through data collected by the Kepler Telescope, looking for evidence of transits, which is the regular dimming of a star when a planet moves across its face. "We already have six in one month", Fausnaugh said. K2-288Bb orbits this smaller and dimmer star every 31.3 days. It was unclear whether this signal was caused by a planet or variations in the host star's activity, so Dragomir and her colleagues analyzed observations taken by another instrument, the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS), a spectrograph installed on a telescope at the European Southern Observatory's La Silla Observatory in Chile.

In total, Kepler has found around 5,000 unconfirmed "candidate" exoplanets, with a further 2,500 "confirmed" exoplanets that scientists have since shown to be real.

Huang said several more planets have had their status confirmed, but she didn't provide specifics.

The discoveries of a new planet and several supernovae are exciting enough and what's to come should give us even more information about the phenomena already discovered.

The pair were working as interns with Joshua Schlieder, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, at the time.