Hundreds of new worlds have been discovered by astronomers, including Saturn-sized gas giants that are unusually close.


Hundreds of new worlds have been discovered by astronomers, including Saturn-sized gas giants that are unusually close.

Outside of our solar system, astronomers have identified 366 new worlds, including a star orbited by two gas giants that are extraordinarily close to one other.

These extra-solar planets, often known as exoplanets, join a growing list of nearly 4,500 worlds discovered around stars other than our sun. The discovery could help scientists better comprehend the evolution of planetary systems while also demonstrating how unique, or not, our solar system is in the larger Milky Way.

“Discovering hundreds of new exoplanets is a major achievement in and of itself,” said Erik Petigura, an astronomy professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. “However, what sets this effort different is how it will expose features of the exoplanet population as a whole.”

The discovery was made possible by a planet recognition program developed by Jon Zink, a UCLA postdoctoral fellow, which combed through data collected by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope’s K2 mission.

Zink’s system examines dips in light output from stars that could be caused by orbiting planets, weeding out those that aren’t. This is something that astronomers normally have to accomplish with follow-up investigations, and it can take a long time.

The data was subsequently used by Zink and Petigura, as well as an international collaboration of astronomers known as the Scaling K2 project, to discover the exoplanets.

“Jon and the Scaling K2 team built a catalog and planet detection method that represents a big breakthrough in understanding the population of planets,” Petigura stated. “I’m confident they’ll help us better grasp the physical processes that cause planets to develop and evolve.” Zink’s algorithm combed through the whole K2 mission dataset, which totaled over 800 million photos of stars and over 500 terabytes of data.

Although data from K2 had previously been used to study how the positions of stars in galaxies influence the kind of planets that potentially develop around them, Kepler’s software was insufficient to identify the size or location of these planets relative to their star.

This caused the data to be processed using UCLA’s Hoffman2 Cluster, resulting in the development of a catalog of 366 new exoplanets and 381 previously recognized planets. The is one of the exoplanets discovered by. This is a condensed version of the information.


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