NASA Planet Hunter Discovers Third New Planet

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NASA's planet-hunting telescope is making landmark discoveries at an astonishing pace and has now confirmed discovery of a third new planet and a handful of exploding stars in our "cosmic backyard".

Less than a year after NASA's TESS spacecraft was launched, the scientists behind the mission have unveiled their third confirmed planet, a weird alien world that's between Earth and Neptune in size.

It takes HD 21749b 36 days to orbit around its star, which is almost as bright as the Sun.

Three new planets and six supernovae outside our solar system have been observed by Nasa's planet-hunting Tess mission in its first three months.

The new planet's surface reaches about 300℉, which, according to the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, is "relatively cool", considering the proximity to its star, which is nearly as bright as our Sun.

The newly described planet whizzes around its star on a stretched-out orbit once every 36 days, says Xu Chelsea Huang, a TESS scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge.

"We know a lot about atmospheres of hot planets, but because it's very hard to find small planets that orbit farther from their stars and are therefore cooler, we haven't been able to learn much about these smaller, cooler planets", she added.

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"We learned from Kepler that there are more planets than stars in our sky, and now TESS will open our eyes to the variety of planets around some of the closest stars", Paul Hertz, the director of NASA's astrophysics division, said in March 2018. The size of the new world is also a rarity: 1.9 times the Earth's size and half of Neptune's.

The Kepler mission has spotted thousands of exoplanets since 2014, with 30 planets less than twice the size of Earth now known to orbit within the habitable zones of their stars.

It could either be rocky like our home planet or gas-rich like Neptune.

"We've confirmed three planets so far, and there are so many more that are just waiting for telescope and people time to be confirmed", Dragomir said. "The planet likely has a density of water, or a thick atmosphere", Dragomir said.

Researchers have also detected evidence of a second planet, with a shorter, 7.8-day orbitin the same planetary system, though it is yet to be confirmed.

She said: "It's a very exciting discovery due to how it was found, its temperate orbit and because planets of this size seem to be relatively uncommon".

The discovery of the planets was announced by scientists at the annual American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle, the Guardian reported.

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TESS will look for exoplanets using the transit method, observing slight dips in the brightness of stars as planets pass in front of them. K2-288Bb orbits this smaller and dimmer star every 31.3 days.

Tess will spend about two years surveying 200,000 of the brightest stars near the sun to search for planets outside our solar system. "We don't know how that could form".

As it turned out, though, the team wasn't actually analyzing all of the data. For what it's worth, several TESS finds have been the subject of pre-print research papers.

Astronomers are now conducting follow-up observations on more than 280 exoplanet candidates.

So the reprocessed, "cleaned-up" light curves were uploaded through the Exoplanet Explorers project on online platform Zooniverse, and the public was invited to "go forth and find us planets", Feinstein said.

The pair were working as interns with Joshua Schlieder, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, at the time.

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