UNITED STATES: A team of astronomers has detected 366 fresh exoplanets. The discovery was made with the help of the data provided by the Kepler space telescope of NASA’s K2 mission. K2 mission provides precise photometric data from numerous target fields in the ecliptic. The K2 mission will continue to mine the galaxy for exoplanet and stellar discoveries.
A paper published in the astronomical journal described a planetary system. This planetary system consists of a star and two gas giant planets of size close to Saturn surprisingly stationed close to each other.
These findings are remarkable because it’s unusual to find gas giants like Saturn in the solar system as close as this to their parent star as in this context.
The researchers are still uncertain why the incident took place there. However, this discovery is noteworthy because it will open new doors to our understanding of exoplanets.
Talking about this, UCLA postdoctoral scholar John Zinck said, “The discovery of each new world provides a unique glimpse into the physics that play a role in planet formation.”
With this data, astronomers can understand how a particular type of planet orbiting around a specific star can potentially be a base to support life. To search for extraterrestrial life, scientists need to study planets and stars beyond our solar system.
In 2013, Kepler’s main mission came to an end when a technical failure occurred which did not allow the spacecraft to accurately point at the region of the sky it had been observing.
But astronomers gave it a new mission and modified it to identify exoplanets near stars beyond our solar system. Since then, K2 is helping to unfold the mysteries of exoplanets. The number of exoplanets discovered to date is more than 4000 so the discovery of a few hundred more is a significant advancement.