Seventeen new planets including Earth-sized potentially habitable world discovered

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on March 02, 2020

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have discovered 17 new planets, including a potentially habitable, Earth-sized world using NASA’s retired space telescope- the Kepler space telescope.

The study has been published in The Astronomical Journal.

“Our search returned 17 planet candidates (PCs) in addition to thousands of known Kepler Objects of Interest (KOIs), with a 98.8 per cent recovery rate of already confirmed planets. We highlight the discovery of one candidate, KIC-7340288 b, that is both rocky (radius ) and in the Habitable Zone (insolation between 0.25 and 2.2 times the Earth's insolation),” reads the abstract.

The planet named KIC-7340288 b, discovered by lead researcher Michelle Kunimoto, is one and a half times the size of Earth instead of other giant gaseous planets of the Solar System. ‘Rocky’ planets can allow the presence of water on its surface, making the planet a possibly habitable zone.

However, the planet is a thousand light-years away which eliminates the chances of “getting there anytime soon” Kunimoto had said according to a media report published on Gadgets360.

Kunimoto, a PhD candidate in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia, had also collaborated with her PhD supervisor and UBC Professor Jaymie Matthews on the study. She further attempted to get razor-sharp images of some of these planet-hosting stars with the Near InfraRed Imager and Spectrometer (NIRI) on the Gemini North eight-metre telescope in Hawaii with the help of UBC alumnus Henry Ngo.

According to the study, a year on the planet consists of 142 and a half days. It gets about one-third of the light that the Earth gets from the Sun and the star.

The Kepler Telescope was launched by NASA to discover Earth-size planets orbiting other stars on March 7, 2009.

Earlier in January, NASA had said it had discovered another Earth-sized planet named “TOI 700 d” within the habitable range of its star through its planet hunter satellite TESS.

The planet is only 100 light-years away from the Earth.

Published on March 02, 2020

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