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Rare exoplanet discovered 226 light-years away from Earth
09 January 2019, 06:23 | Ross Houston
NASA's planet finder discovers weird new world and 6 six exploding stars
Huang reported the findings at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington.
This year, Kevin Hardegree-Ullman, postdoctoral scholar in astronomy at the California Institute of Technology, announced that the Spitzer space telescope followed up on that discovery and discovered a sixth planet, K2-138 g, smaller than Neptune, that orbits the star every 42 days. Unfortunately, it is unlikely the gaseous planet is habitable.
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 planet likely has a density of water or a thick atmosphere".
The researchers also detected hints of another, smaller planet in the system, a planet that would have an orbital period of 7.8 days.
The planet, as well as two other planets, was found by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, a satellite that has only been observing space for three months.
The extraordinarily large planet is 226 light-years away, in a constellation called Taurus, and experts say it's most likely either a rocky or gas-rich planet, similar to Neptune.
The new planet is named HD 21749b. The star is a cool M-type dwarf star about one-fifth the size of our Sun.
During its initial two-year mission, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite will observe almost the entire sky, looking for transit-a phenomenon that occurs when a planet passes in front of its star, causing a dip in the star's brightness. If confirmed, it could be the smallest TESS planet to date.
TESS launched to Earth orbit in April 2018 on a mission to find alien worlds circling stars in our solar system's neighborhood.
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"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 the MIT Kavli Institute.
Tess is 5 feet (1.5 meters) wide and is shorter than most adults.
TESS is surveying an area in the sky that is 400 times larger than what Kepler observed, including 200,000 of the brightest nearby stars.
TESS is in the process of scanning the entire southern sky, after which it will turn and canvass the northern sky. That is, it looks for tiny dips in starlight caused when planets cross their host stars' faces from the satellite's perspective.
NASA believe they may have found a planet that could contain life.
Pi Mensae c is roughly twice Earth's size and can be seen in the Mensa constellation with the naked eye.
Furthermore, the data suggest that K2-288Bb resides within its host star's habitable zone, which means the planet may have liquid water on its surface, according to the statement.
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. That telescope, launching in 2021, would be able to characterize the details and atmospheres of exoplanets in ways scientists have not been able to do. Using ground-based telescopes, astronomers are now conducting follow-up observations on more than 280 TESS exoplanet candidates.
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