NASA finds three alien planets, including the 'missing link'

NASA finds three alien planets, including the 'missing link'”

The new star system, called TESS Object of Interest, or TOI-270, is exactly what the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, was created to find, said researchers from the University of California, Riverside in the US.

If a planet with three suns isn't your thing, what about a sun with three planets?

On Monday, four days after announcing the completion of TESS' first year of survey, NASA revealed the telescope had produced a "hat trick" of sorts and detected three exoplanets that the administration says will be "among the most curious targets for future studies".

"This star is quiet and very close to us, and therefore much brighter than the host stars of comparable systems", he added.

This infographic illustrates key features of the TOI 270 system, located about 73 light years away in the southern constellation Pictor.

Check those results: TESS has already found 21 new planets and another 850 potential worlds awaiting confirmation, all located within a few dozen light-years of our own solar system, MIT's George Ricker told the New York Times.

Researchers hope follow-up observations in relation to TESS' finds will continue to shed light on how these planets operate, what gases are present on them and whether or not life as we know it can survive on these worlds. What's more, two of the planets are a sort of cosmic equivalent of an evolutionary missing link, with a size and mass that lands in between those of the planets in our own solar system.

"TOI-270 is a true Disneyland for exoplanet science, and one of the prime systems TESS was set out to discover,"Günther continued". TOI 270 c and TOI 270 d, respectively, register as 2.4 and 2.1 times larger than Earth. That's not nothing: all of those metrics can allow astronomers to determine the planets' temperature and likely makeup-rocky like Venus and Earth or gaseous like Saturn and Neptune.

Planet d orbits within the star's so-called habitable zone, the orbital region where liquid water can exist on a rocky planet's surface.

GJ 357 c, the middle planet, has a mass at least 3.4 times Earth's, orbits the star every 9.1 days at a distance a bit more than twice that of the transiting planet, and has an equilibrium temperature around 260 F (127 C). TESS did not observe transits from this planet, which suggests its orbit is slightly tilted - perhaps by less than 1 degree - relative to the hot Earth's orbit, so it never passes across the star from our perspective. "TOI 270 is an excellent laboratory for studying the margins of this gap". Temperatures given for TOI 270's planets are equilibrium temperatures, calculated without the warming effects of any possible atmospheres.

Of the two little Neptunes, TOI 270c is the less hospitable, with temperatures of about 300º F; but TOI 270d is an almost-comfortable 150º F, and in the higher reaches of its atmosphere it would be cooler. The star, called TOI 270, is surrounded by a trio of planets, including one rocky world and a pair of "sub-Neptune" worlds that scientists are eager to learn more about.

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