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Discover an exoplanet similar to Jupiter with the help of citizen scientists

Discover an exoplanet similar to Jupiter with the help of citizen scientists

A new exoplanet the size of Jupiter has been discovered 379 light years from Earth. This new world caught the attention of astronomers by having an orbital period of 261 (Earth) days, which is considered long compared to the various gas giants discovered outside the world. Solar System. The discovery was made through a collaboration of astronomers at the University of California and New Mexico, along with citizen scientists.

The exoplanet is called TOI-2180 b, and it is relatively close to Earth The size of Jupiter And three times the mass of a gas giant. Within TOI-2180 b, there are 105 Earth masses of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, which may indicate that the planet has a different origin than our neighbors.

An artist’s representation of an exoplanet (Image: Reproduction/NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt)

There, temperatures are around 77°C, but despite being hotter than Saturn and Jupiter, its conditions can still be considered milder than those on other large exoplanets. “It’s a beautiful transition between most of the gas giant exoplanets we’ve encountered before, cold Jupiter and Saturn,” noted Paul Dalba, co-author of the study.

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The discovery of the planet and some of its properties, such as size and mass, required a great deal of collaboration between professional astronomers and citizen scientists such as Tom Jacobs, a citizen scientist who contributed to the discovery. “The discovery and publication of TOI-2180 b was a remarkable collective initiative demonstrating that professional astronomers and citizen scientists Jacobs said.

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The discovery of a planet similar to Jupiter

The team identified the outer planet amid the data collected by Telescópio Transiting Exoplanet Survey Moon, da NASA, who notes a slight decrease in the brightness of stars due to the passage of planets in front of them during the so-called “transit”. Tom Jacobs, a former US Navy officer, is part of a group of citizen scientists analyzing TESS data in search of new planets.

In early 2020, he detected a dip in the light emitted by the star TOI-2180. He needed confirmation that the drop came, in fact, from a planet passing next to the star and contacted Dalba of the University of California and Diana Dragomir of the University of New Mexico. Data from other observatories showed the planet “pulling” to the star, which allowed them to calculate its mass.

The TESS telescope monitors changes in the brightness of nearby stars, which may be caused by planets orbiting them (Image: Reproduction/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

However, the authors still want to monitor cross the planet When possible, in order to confirm the orbital period. They organized an observation campaign with professional astronomers and citizen scientists, who used telescopes at 14 locations on three continents to make observations throughout 2020. Although they did not reliably discover the planet, the expedition allowed them to determine the orbital period of 261 days. .

In addition, the authors believe that TESS will be able to track a new transit in February, when the telescope will spot the star. If, this time, they find the planet’s signature and confirm the orbital period, the data from the previous expedition will be even more significant. Dalba also suspects that TOI-2180 b may have small objects in its orbit – and James Webb Telescope It has resources to help you find it.

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To date, rings and moons have not been recognized with a high degree of certainty in other star systems. Perhaps this is due to the proximity of the exoplanets and their stars, which can lead to the “explosion” of these objects; Since TOI-2180 b is far away, it can be a good object for these searches. “I think this is an interesting system for more observations in the future,” Delba concluded.

The article containing the results of the study was published in the Astronomical Journal.

source: Astronomical JournalAnd NASA