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Playing hide and seek with planets

Date:
April 14, 2023
Source:
National Institutes of Natural Sciences
Summary:
An international team of astronomers announced the first exoplanet discovered through a combined approach of direct imaging and precision measurements of a star's motion on the sky. This new method promises to improve the efficiency of exoplanet searches, paving the way for the discovery of an Earth twin.
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An international team of astronomers announced the first exoplanet discovered through a combined approach of direct imaging and precision measurements of a star's motion on the sky. This new method promises to improve the efficiency of exoplanet searches, paving the way for the discovery of an Earth twin.

To discover exoplanets, planets which orbit stars other than the Sun, by imaging astronomers have up until now used "blind surveys": stars are selected for imaging consider factors such as age and distance but are otherwise unbiased. However, blind surveys find planets very infrequently. Knowing where to look would help increase detection rates.

An international research team led by Subaru Telescope, the University of Tokyo, the University of Texas-San Antonio, and the Astrobiology Center of Japan, searched for hints of unknown planets in the data from the European Space Agency's Gaia mission and its predecessor, Hipparcos. The team identified a star, HIP 99770 located 133 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus, whose motion suggests that an unseen planet is gravitationally pulling on it. Direct imaging observations with the Subaru Telescope detected the planet, HIP 99770 b.

The newly discovered planet is 14-16 times more massive than Jupiter. Its orbit is just over 3 times further from its star than Jupiter is from the Sun. The planet is 10 times hotter than Jupiter, with signs of water and carbon monoxide in its atmosphere.

A decade from now, astronomers hope to image a potentially-habitable planet with a size and temperature like the Earth using observatories like the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). Compared with HIP 99770 b, this Earth twin will be smaller and closer to its star, traits that will make it harder to detect. But with precise motion measurements, researchers will know where to look in this game of planetary hide and seek.


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Journal Reference:

  1. Thayne Currie, G. Mirek Brandt, Timothy D. Brandt, Brianna Lacy, Adam Burrows, Olivier Guyon, Motohide Tamura, Ranger Y. Liu, Sabina Sagynbayeva, Taylor Tobin, Jeffrey Chilcote, Tyler Groff, Christian Marois, William Thompson, Simon J. Murphy, Masayuki Kuzuhara, Kellen Lawson, Julien Lozi, Vincent Deo, Sebastien Vievard, Nour Skaf, Taichi Uyama, Nemanja Jovanovic, Frantz Martinache, N. Jeremy Kasdin, Tomoyuki Kudo, Michael McElwain, Markus Janson, John Wisniewski, Klaus Hodapp, Jun Nishikawa, Krzysztof Hełminiak, Jungmi Kwon, Masahiko Hayashi. Direct imaging and astrometric detection of a gas giant planet orbiting an accelerating star. Science, 2023; 380 (6641): 198 DOI: 10.1126/science.abo6192

Cite This Page:

National Institutes of Natural Sciences. "Playing hide and seek with planets." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 April 2023. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/04/230414113529.htm>.
National Institutes of Natural Sciences. (2023, April 14). Playing hide and seek with planets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 13, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/04/230414113529.htm
National Institutes of Natural Sciences. "Playing hide and seek with planets." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/04/230414113529.htm (accessed April 13, 2024).

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