New Discovery: 45 new exoplanets found; four take less than 24 hours to orbit their host stars, astronomers say (File photo)
Astronomers have discovered 45 new planets in the solar systems beyond our own. The new findings may help researchers probe exoplanet atmospheres and new techniques developed to validate the discovery may help confirmation of more extrasolar planets.
Astronomers confirmed the existence of these 44 exoplanets and described various details about them with the help of data from NASA’s Kepler and the ESA’s Gaia space telescopes.
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The findings reveal some surprising features and may help find out what kind of planets are out there in the universe, scientists in Tokyo, Japan say.
“For example, four of the planets orbit their host stars in less than 24 hours,” said John Livingston, a graduate student at the University of Tokyo in Japan.
“In other words, a year on each of those planets is shorter than a day here on Earth,” Livingston added.
These findings suggest the “ultrashort-period” planets could be more common than previously believed.
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“Sixteen were in the same size class as Earth, one in particular turning out to be extremely small - about the size of Venus - which was a nice affirmation, as it’s close to the limit of what is possible to detect,” Livingston said.
The addition of a large number of new planets, leads directly to a “better theoretical understanding” of solar system formation, researchers said.
“The investigation of other solar systems can help us understand how planets and even our own solar system formed. The study of other worlds has much to teach us about our own,” said Livingston.
The planets also provide better scope for detailed individual studies to yield measurements of planetary composition, interior structure and atmospheres - in particular, the 18 planets in several multi-planet systems.
(With inputs from agencies)