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Details of the exciting astronomical discovery announced by the members of the Space Telescope Project Planet Hunters Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, known for short as the TESS probe, funded by NASA.
Astronomers have found two gas giant exoplanets orbiting a distant sun-like star, called HD 152843, which is located about 352 light-years from Earth.
The star has a mass similar to that of the Sun, but is about 1.5 times larger and slightly brighter, according to a NASA statement.
The first planet is called HD 152843b, which is about 3.4 times larger than Earth, or about the size of Neptune, and completes an orbit around its star in about 12 days.
The second planet, HD 152843c, is 5.8 times larger than Earth and 27.5 times denser than Earth, making it a Saturn-like, or planet between the size of Neptune and Saturn. A new study indicates that its orbital period ranges between 19 and 35 days.
The citizen scientists of the Planet Hunters TESS project, which is operated through the Zooniverse website, discovered three distinct transit events, in which a brief dip in a star’s brightness is recorded when a planet crosses the face of the star, blocking some of its light, in one month of observational data. From HD 152843.
Their findings were confirmed by professional astronomers who compared the data with computer models, indicating that two of the transits came from the inner planet (HD 152843b) and the third came from a second outer planet (HD 152843c), according to the statement.
The astronomers also used two additional instruments, the High-Resolution Radial Velocity Planet Finder for the Northern Hemisphere at Telescopio Nazionale Galileo in Spain and the High Resolution Spectrometer at Lowell Observatory in Arizona, to confirm that transit events were in fact caused by exoplanets, rather than other sources, such as Rafe Other stars, passing asteroids, or the motions of TESS itself.
These instruments use a technique called radial velocity to detect minute “vibrations” caused by a planet rotating in the movement of its star toward or away from Earth.
Observations from HD 152843 indicate that exoplanets are too hot and gaseous to support life as we know it on Earth. However, the study of the two new exoplanets helps scientists learn about the range of possible planets in our galaxy, according to the statement.
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