QEERI DISCOVERS THREE NEW PLANETS
Scientists at the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) announced the discovery of three new extrasolar planets (exoplanets), found using optical Earth-based telescopes.
The discovery was made as part of the ongoing Qatar Exoplanet Survey (QES) that is funded by the Qatar National Research Fund. The team identified the new exoplanets using tens of thousands of images collected by the dedicated QES telescopes in New Mexico (USA), Tenerife (Spain) and Urumqi (China). Following an agreement with the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the three new planets are officially named Qatar-3b, Qatar-4b and Qatar-5b. Exoplanets are planets orbiting around other stars, outside of the Earth’s solar system. The three newly discovered exoplanets belong to a category astronomers call “hot Jupiters”, planets that are in size similar to that of Jupiter (the largest planet in our solar system), which are located very close to their host star and, due to this proximity, have temperatures that range between 1,200 and 3,000 degrees Celsius. Hot Jupiters typically take about one to 10 Earth days for a full orbit around their host star as “a year” on the hot Jupiters lasts only 1-10 Earth days. The three new exoplanets have sizes between 1 and 1.5 times that of Jupiter (12 to 17 times larger than the Earth) and temperatures between 1,400 and 1,700 Celsius, completing full orbits around their stars in times ranging between 1.8 and 2.9 Earth days. The distances to the new planets were calculated to be in the order of 1,400 to 1,800 light years away, where a light year is equal to 10 trillion kilometers.