Science

Rare exoplanet discovered 226 light-years away from Earth

Rare exoplanet discovered 226 light-years away from Earth”

The new planet discovered by astronomers orbits this smaller star, completing one cycle every 313.3 days. Data gathered during the course of its scientific mission, however, paved way to the discovery of a new exoplanet.

If it is confirmed as a planet, it could be the first Earth-sized planet discovered by Tess.

"It's a very exciting discovery due to how it was found, its temperate orbit and because planets of this size seem to be relatively uncommon", said Adina Feinstein, a University of Chicago graduate student who discussed the discovery on Monday, Jan. 7, at the 233rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle.

The brighter star of the pair is estimated to be half as large and massive as Earth's sun, while its dimmer companion is about one-third the sun's mass and size. "But here we were lucky, and can now study this one in more detail".

HD 21749b also has the longest orbital period of any exoplanet found within 100 light years of us (36 days), is about three times Earth's size but 23 times its mass - and, perhaps surprisingly, it's considered nearly chilly, as exoplanets go.

Less than a year after NASA's TESS spacecraft was launched, the scientists behind the mission have unveiled their third confirmed planet, a weird alien world that's between Earth and Neptune in size.

"We think this planet wouldn't be as gaseous as Neptune or Uranus, which are mostly hydrogen and really puffy". She is also the lead author of a paper describing the new planet accepted for publication by The Astronomical Journal.

Researchers have also detected evidence of a second planet, with a shorter, 7.8-day orbitin the same planetary system, though it is yet to be confirmed.

The first confirmed discovery is a world called Pi Mensae c about twice Earth's size. If the light "dips", momentarily decreasing in brightness, it suggests that a planet may be orbiting the star.

NASA expects TESS to allow for the cataloging of more than 1,500 exoplanets, but it has the potential to find thousands. Every six days, the new planet orbits the star Pi Mensae, located about 60 light-years away and visible to the unaided eye in the southern constellation Mensa. His team is now writing a proposal to NASA asking that TESS's mission be extended past its initial two years.

"Some of the most interesting science occurs in the early days of a supernova, which has been very hard to observe before TESS", said Michael Fausnaugh, a TESS researcher at MKI.

The finding comes from data from NASA's Kepler space telescope, which ran out of fuel in October 2018. The exoplanet lies in the stellar system K2-288, which has two dim, cool stars. Over the course of two years, the four wide-field cameras on board will stare at different sectors of the sky for days at a time. "TESS found as many in its first month". Those planets could be the best candidates for supporting life outside our solar system.

Additional partners include Northrop Grumman, based in Falls Church, Virginia; NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley; the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts; MIT's Lincoln Laboratory; and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

Follow-up observations were made with multiple telescopes to confirm the exoplanet.



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