Get ready for some 'galactic context' as nearly 100 new exoplanets discovered

  • Get ready for some 'galactic context' as nearly 100 new exoplanets discovered

Get ready for some 'galactic context' as nearly 100 new exoplanets discovered

"The follow up K2 mission, on the other hand, has provided us with a great deal of interesting individual planets and systems that we can now start to study in greater detail". At present, the NASA's K2 mission had discovered more than 100 new planets adding to the list of 200 other planets that were discovered over its course of discovery.

Dr Mayo and his colleagues analysed hundreds of signals of potential exoplanets thoroughly to determine which signals were created by exoplanets and which were caused by other sources. "But we also detected planets that range from sub Earth-sized to the size of Jupiter and larger", Andrew Mayo, a Ph.D. student of the National Space Institute (DTU Space) at the Technical University of Denmark, who was lead author of the paper announcing the discovery, said in a statement Thursday.

One of the exoplanets validated during the study is orbiting the star HD 212657, which Mayo says is the brightest star found by Kepler/K2 missions to host a confirmed planet.

For a long time, the rocket gazed consistently at around 150,000 stars, searching for little dunks in their shine caused by the entry of planets over their countenances. "Planets around bright stars are important because astronomers can learn a lot about them from ground based observatories". However, in 2013, Kepler telescope lost his ability to detect exoplanets citing its issue with maintaining the course while focusing on these planets due to a mechanical failure.

The spacecraft, which is on the K2 mission to discover new exoplanets, has uncovered thousands of candidates since it was launched nearly a decade ago.

Transits refer to a phenomenon of at least one celestial body appearing to move across the face of another, hiding a small part of it, as seen by an observer at some particular vantage point. The dips in light are caused by the shadow of an exoplanet as it crosses in front of its host star.

"Exoplanets are a very exciting field of space science", Mayo said. They confirmed 149 as real exoplanets, of which 95 proved to be new discoveries.

The first planet orbiting a star similar to our own sun was detected only in 1995. Around 3,600 exoplanets that range from rocky Earth-sized planets to huge gas giants like Jupiter have been found by various missions.

And with upcoming missions, such as the powerful James Webb Telescope and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, astronomers will be able to make unprecedented observations of these planets and identify which may be capable of supporting life, among other goals. It had been only a few years since Kepler started sending data of newly discovered exoplanets to NASA on Earth which takes around few minutes to transmit.

NASA's Kepler is the most successful planet-hunting telescope to date.

The data used for Mayo's team's analysis was collected in 2014.