Japanese scientists have confirmed the existence of several candidates for exoplanets discovered by Kepler’s K2 mission
A team of researchers at the University of Tokyo and the Center for Astrobiology at the National Institute of Natural Sciences in Japan have used space and ground-based telescopes to confirm the discovery of 104 exoplanets – this alone in the last three months.
According to the scientists, one of the reasons for so many discoveries was the use of the Kepler Space Telescope, launched in 2009 to locate and study exoplanets, as they are called planets outside our solar system.
Most of them were found from the observation of star brightness: when brightness decreases, there is the possibility that an object – in this case, a planet – is passing in the surroundings of the star.
The drop in the brightness of a star can also be caused by other factors, such as the passing of meteors or space debris, so confirmation is important.
In 2013 Kepler suffered mechanical problems, which initiated a second mission called K2. Astronomers from around the world began a contest to confirm the data collected at this stage, including the Japanese research team.
In all, they analyzed 227 candidate exoplanets. To this end, space and ground-based telescopes were used to aid them in this discovery, according to the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. As a result, the team confirmed the existence of 104 new planets outside our Solar System.
Seven of the discovered stars have orbital periods of less than 24 hours. The reason for this is still unknown to scientists. Further study of these planets will help you understand the processes behind your training.
Scientists have also confirmed many rock-formed stars and others less than twice the size of Earth, as well as systems formed by multiple exoplanets.
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John Livingston, the lead author of the paper, explained: “Although the Kepler Space Telescope was officially withdrawn by NASA, its successor space telescope, called TESS, has already begun to collect data.
Only in the first month of operations has he found many new exoplanets and will continue to discover many others. We can look forward to new discoveries in the next few years. “
Astronomers find exoplanets orbiting star 500 light years from Earth
A study reveals four planets orbiting young star CI Tau.
Scientists at the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge in England have discovered four new exoplanets orbiting a young star about 500 light-years from Earth.
The star in question is called CI Tau and is only two million years old. According to astronomers, it is still surrounded by a clump of dust and gas known as the protoplanetary disk.
In the study, published in the journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the team of researchers reports having observed the Tau CI and its disk with a network of radio telescopes located in the Chilean Andes.
They detected three additional faults in the disk, with distances of 13, 39 and 100 astronomical units (each being equivalent to 150 million kilometers) of the star, which indicates the presence of three celestial bodies in its orbit.
According to the scientists’ analysis, the team’s work suggests that the innermost of the three exoplanets is as large as Jupiter, while the outer two are similar in size to Saturn.
The researchers had already detected an exoplanet nicknamed CI Tau b around the star. It is ten times the size of Jupiter and was the first hot planet of its kind ever discovered orbiting a star so young. Thus, in total, there are four bodies in the orbit of CI Tau.
In the research, the authors claim that they had never detected four giant planets around such a recent star. “Saturn-like masses are supposed to accumulate first through a solid core and then bring a layer of gas to the top, but these processes are very slow at great distances from the star,” wrote Cathie Clarke, principal author of the study.
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Hubble Discovery Enhances Study of Exoplanet Atmospheres
Telescope detected, for the first time, the presence of helium around a distant world – new technique is promising
An international team of astronomers published last Wednesday an article describing a very promising discovery for the area of the exoplanets.
The study explains how researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope to detect large amounts of the helium element in the atmosphere of WASP-107b, a gaseous giant orbiting a star 200 light-years from Earth.
In a statement, Jessica Spake, PhD candidate at the University of Exeter (UK) and lead researcher, spoke about the importance of this unprecedented detection.
“Helium is the second most common element in the universe after hydrogen,” he says. “It is also one of the main constituents of the Jupiter and Saturn planets in our Solar System, but so far had not been detected in exoplanets – despite the searches.”
The study healed a charade that had lasted since the year 2000, when researchers predicted that helium would be one of the most easily detected atmospheric gases in giant exoplanets.
It also showed the demonstration that a new technique can be used: the analysis of the infrared spectrum of light. The promise is that with the arrival of future powerful telescopes like James Webb, it will be possible to analyze the atmospheres of exoplanets in an unprecedented level of detail.
Current methods focus on ultraviolet light and are limited only to the closest exoplanets.
“We know there is helium in the upper atmosphere of the Earth, and this new technique can help us detect atmospheres around Earth-sized planets – which is very difficult with today’s technology,” Spake explains.
WASP-107b shows itself to be a rather peculiar gaseous giant: although it is almost the size of Jupiter, it has only 12% of its mass. It is, therefore, one of the least dense among known planets. It is so close to its parent star that it completes an orbit every six days.
In the case of Earth, the gases reach a height of a few hundred kilometers. The enormous amount of helium detected in WASP-107b made the researchers estimate that the atmosphere there would reach tens of thousands of kilometers.
It gradually escapes into space: between 0.1% and 4% is lost every billion years.