Student of the astronomy facultyUniversity of British Columbia Michelle Kunimoto has discovered 17 new exoplanets, including a potentially inhabited planet the size of the Earth, phys.org reported. After examining the data collected by the NASA Kepler mission during its initial four-year program, the researcher discovered traces of previously unnoticed objects in places located in the so-called “Goldilocks zone”, where liquid water could exist on the surface of a rocky planet.
Scientists have found new exoplanets
New finds reported inThe astronomical journal includes one of the most rare planets in the universe. Officially named KIC-7340288 b, a unique planet, discovered through the efforts of Michel Kunimoto, is only one and a half times larger than the Earth. As is known, such dimensions indicate the presence of a solid, not gaseous, surface on the exoplanet. In addition, the discovered object is located in the habitable zone of its star, which greatly increases the chances of detecting organic life on the planet in the future.
Be that as it may, Kunimoto herself, the candidatephysical and astronomical sciences, is not so optimistic. According to her, due to the enormous distance that separates us from the unique find, we could only get to the vicinity of her star after several hundred thousand years, and only if we could finally tame the speed of light.
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The year on the earth-like planet is approximately142 days, which is 0.444 astronomical units (or 0.444 from the distance between the Earth and the Sun). This characteristic brings it somewhat closer to Mercury from the solar system, however, due to the fact that the parent star of the planet is slightly smaller than our star, the exoplanet receives only about a third of all the light that the Earth receives from the Sun. The presence of such a property makes the KIC-7340288 b object a truly incredible find, since so far only 15 officially confirmed planets discovered by the Kepler telescope have been found in the habitable zone.
Of the remaining 16 new open planets, the mosta small object has only two-thirds of the size of the Earth, thereby automatically becoming a champion among all the planets discovered by Kepler to date. The sizes of the remaining exoplanets are in the range of up to eight Earth diameters.
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To search for all the planets, Kunimoto usedthe transit method known to many, which measures the amount of light shaded by an exoplanet from the parent star to the earth observer. In order to find 17 new objects, the scientist had to analyze the data of more than 200,000 stars observed by the mission of the famous “Kepler”.
Watching transits of planets causing a temporarya decrease in the brightness of the star, Kunimoto received information about their size and the time that objects needed to complete a complete revolution around their luminary. The student’s supervisor, Professor Jamie Matthews, believes that his ward’s study can shed light on the frequency of occurrence of earth-like objects in the inhabited zone of other stars, thereby prompting scientists about the possible location of exoplanets not yet discovered by mankind, some of which may be of great interest to modern science