Citizen scientists help discover a giant planet hidden in plain sight, three times larger than Jupiter


16 ene 2022 21:55 GMT

It is located at a distance of 379 light years from Earth and has a duration of 261 days.

A group of citizen scientists, in collaboration with astronomer Paul Dalba of the University of California Riverside, general In the Astronomical Journal, finding a gas giant planet that is difficult to estimate by ordinary star-observing techniques, communication The educational institution this Thursday.

The TOI-2180 b object has the same diameter as Jupiter, with the difference that it is three times larger. It was also decided that you can get up to 105 times Earth’s mass is reduced to heavy elements such as hydrogen and helium, and is considered denser than Jupiter itself.

The scientist explained that her orbital period 261 days, the time required to complete a journey around its star, which is relatively long compared to other similar gaseous planets, in addition to being at a distance 379 light years from Earth.

How was the planet TOI-2180 b discovered?

The planet was discovered after Tom Jacobs, a volunteer with the Visual Research Group, observed in February 2020 in a graph showing starlight over time, obtained by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), who – which Starlight near TOI-2180 b is faint less than half a percentage point and then It has returned to its previous brightness level in a 24 hour period.

This can be explained by A planet orbiting “transit” as it passes in front of the star From our point of view. By measuring the amount of light that is dimmed as the planet passes through, researchers can estimate the planet’s size, as well as other measurements, of its density. However, transits can only be seen if a star and its planet line up with the telescopes you’re looking at.

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Measurements of the planet were made using the Automated Planet Finder Telescope at the Lick Observatory in California and the Keck 1 telescope at the WM Keck Observatory in Hawaii. This allowed knowing the force of gravity to find out the mass of TOI-2180 b and make estimates of the probabilities of its orbit.

Scientists wanted to capture a second transit of the planet, so Dalba organized an observational campaign with professional astronomers and citizen scientists using telescopes in 14 Various locations distributed in three continents In August 2021, but the photos they got weren’t very accurate.

Scientists expect that TESS will see the planet transit its star again next February, when it completes its orbital cycle. “The discovery and publication of the TOI-2180 b was a great team effort that demonstrated that professional astronomers and experienced citizen scientists can work together successfully,” hung Paul Delba in a NASA news release.

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Lovell Loxley

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