NASA's planet hunting probe discovers third new planet

NASA's planet hunting probe discovers third new planet

According to scientists, the planet has an outstretched orbit and zips around its star every 36 days. Once completed, astronomers should have a healthy catalog of more than 10,000 exoplanets to sift through.

During their research of data from the fourth batch of observations from Kepler's K2 mission, the three of them noticed that there were two likely planetary transits.

An artist's visualization of the exoplanet Pi Mensae c.

Citizen scientists have discovered an exoplanet twice the size of Earth located 226 light-years from Earth.

"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.

An artist's visualization of the exoplanet LHS 3884b. Though "super-Earths" are often larger and more massive than our planet, HD 21749b is not thought to be rocky, meaning it's more like Neptune than Earth or Mars. The host star of the newly discovered exoplanet is nearly as bright as our sun, so researchers behind the discovery will have an interesting time learning about it.

The planet in question is orbiting a dwarf star known as HD 21749 which is located 53 light-years away from Earth.

HD 21749b is about 2.8 times Earth's size, which puts it in the category of a sub-Neptune. "The planet likely has a density of water, or a thick atmosphere". If confirmed, it could be the smallest TESS planet to date.

More news: Peyton Manning recommended Adam Gase to Jets

To complicate matters, the star itself is relatively active, and Dragomir wasn't sure if the single transit she spotted was a result of a passing planet or a blip in stellar activity. So far, it's right on schedule: About a quarter of the sky has been photographed, eight months after its launch and six months after it began its two-year primary science mission.

TESS does this work by carving the sky up into overlapping sectors, studying each one for 27 days at a time. Six of these events, highlighted in this movie, are supernovae - exploding stars - located in distant galaxies.

During this initial survey, TESS also witnessed six supernova explosions, recorded before ground-based telescopes saw them.

"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. Its size is different from other exoplanets that revolve around a star outside our solar system.

Those first three days of data were ignored, and errors were corrected in the rest of the data gathered.

NASA expects TESS to allow for the cataloging of more than 1,500 exoplanets, but it has the potential to find thousands. "We're only halfway through TESS's first year of operations, and the data floodgates are just beginning to open", he said.

TESS is still in the early parts of its two-year primary mission.

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

Related Articles