Com­bi­na­tion of space-based and ground-based tele­scopes re­veals more than 100 ex­o­plan­ets

Tehran Times - - SCIENCE -

As­tronomers us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of ground and space based tele­scopes have re­ported more than 100 ex­tra­so­lar plan­ets (ex­o­plan­ets) in only three months. These plan­ets are quite di­verse and ex­pected to play a large role in de­vel­op­ing the re­search field of ex­o­plan­ets and life in the Uni­verse.

An in­ter­na­tional team of as­tronomers us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of ground and space based tele­scopes have re­ported more than 100 ex­tra­so­lar plan­ets (here af­ter, ex­o­plan­ets) in only three months. These plan­ets are quite di­verse and ex­pected to play a large role in de­vel­op­ing the re­search field of ex­o­plan­ets and life in the Uni­verse.

Ex­o­plan­ets, plan­ets that re­volve around stars other than the Sun, have been ac­tively re­searched in re­cent years. One of the rea­sons is the suc­cess of the Ke­pler Space Tele­scope, which launched in 2009 to search for ex­o­plan­ets. If a planet crosses (tran­sits) in front of its par­ent star, then the ob­served bright­ness of the star drops by a small amount.

The Ke­pler Space Tele­scope de­tected many ex­o­plan­ets us­ing this method. How­ever, such dim­ming phe­nom­ena could be caused by other rea­sons.

There­fore, con­fir­ma­tion that the phe­nom­ena are re­ally caused by ex­o­plan­ets is very im­por­tant. The Ke­pler space tele­scope ex­pe­ri­enced me­chan­i­cal trou­ble in 2013, which led to a suc­ces­sor mis­sion called K2. As­tronomers around the world are com­pet­ing to con­firm ex­o­plan­ets sug­gested by the K2 data.

An in­ter­na­tional re­search team in­volv­ing re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Tokyo and Astro­bi­ol­ogy Cen­ter of the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Nat­u­ral Sciences in­ves­ti­gated 227 K2 ex­o­planet can­di­dates us­ing other space tele­scopes and ground-based tele­scopes. They con­firmed that 104 of them are re­ally ex­o­plan­ets. Seven of the con­firmed ex­o­plan­ets have ul­tra-short or­bital pe­ri­ods less than 24 hours. The for­ma­tion process of ex­o­plan­ets with such short or­bital pe­ri­ods is still un­clear.

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