NASA finds planet outside solar system that may have water

11 January, 2019, 16:29 | Author: Amos Gonzales
  • NASA
K2-288Bb

And in May 2017 after looking at the new information that was posted on Exoplanet Explorers - which allows the public to look at Kepler's K2 observations to try and find new transiting planets - they finally found that third transit. The star is known as HD 21749 and lies 16 parsecs (53 light years) from Earth in the constellation Reticulum. Possible planets can be spotted by studying dips in light when the planet moves before its star. NASA 2019 New Year Calendar Will Feature a Painting of 12-Year-Old Boy From Tamil Nadu, View Pic.

According to NASA, the planet, named HD 21749b, is about three times Earth's size and 23 times its mass. If it's a rocky world like Earth, chances are good that it could support water on its surface, but it might also be a gassy "sub-Neptune" planet which would be hostile to life as we know it.

It is 226 light-years away in the constellation Taurus, and could be rocky or could be a gas-rich planet similar to Neptune, NASA says. This means that on its surface could be liquid water. The second exoplanet is even smaller than Earth, which makes it the smallest exoplanet that TESS has discovered so far. Details of the newfound exoplanet were unveiled on January 7 at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington.

In addition to presenting their results at the AAS meeting, the researchers have submitted a paper to Astrophysical Journal Letters. Specifically, the research team looked for evidence of periodic changes in the stars' brightness, which would suggest that an exoplanet passed in front of one of the stars - an event astronomers call a transit.

"We think this planet wouldn't be as gaseous as Neptune or Uranus, which are mostly hydrogen and really puffy", Dragomir said.

TESS - that is, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite - is in the midst of surveying almost the entire sky for exoplanets orbiting stars up to 300 light-years away from Earth.

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The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite launched in April to take up the planet-hunting baton from the Kepler space telescope as that historic mission ended.

In the HARPS data, she and her team found that the HD 21749 signal repeats every 36 days.

"We've confirmed three planets so far, and there are so many more that are just waiting for telescope and people time to be confirmed", Dragomir said. Indeed, HD 21749b is very far-flung for TESS; two other smallish worlds found by the mission have orbital periods of 11 hours and 6.3 days, respectively.

NASA's Kepler space telescope is dead. It has found nearly eight planets as well as other astronomical bodies. 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.

"More than a million TESS images were downloaded from MAST in the first few days", said Thomas Barclay, a TESS researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

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