A planet almost identical to Jupiter has been seen in orbit around a star 17,000 light-years away

A planet ‘almost identical’ to Jupiter has been seen in orbit around a star 17,000 light-years from Earth by NASA’s Kepler telescope, scientists have revealed.

The exoplanet, K2-2016-BLG-0005Lb, is almost identical to Jupiter in terms of its mass and distance from its star, according to astronomers in Manchester.

K2-2016-BLG-0005Lb is about 420 million miles from its star, while Jupiter is 462 million miles from our sun.

Meanwhile, the mass of K2-2016-BLG-0005Lbs is 1.1 times the mass of Jupiter, while the star it orbits is about 60 percent of the mass of our Sun.

The planet and its star are in the constellation Sagittarius, which covers an area around the galactic center – the center of rotation of our Milky Way galaxy.

The system is twice as remote as anything seen before by Kepler, which found over 2,700 confirmed planets before ceasing operations in 2018.

The picture shows a view of the region near the Galactic Center, where the planet was found. The two images show the region seen by Kepler (left) and by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) from the ground. The planet is not visible, but its gravity affected the light observed from a faint star in the center of the image (circled). Kepler’s highly pixelated view of the sky required specialized techniques to recover the planetary signal

THE NEW PLANET

Name: K2-2016-BLG-0005Lb

Galaxy: The Milky Way

Lot: 1.1 MJ (1.1 times the mass of Jupiter)

Diameter: Unknown

Distance from its sun: 420 million miles

Distance from Earth: 17,000 light years

A new study describing the find was conducted by an international team of astrophysicists, led by the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Center.

“To see the effect at all, it requires almost perfect alignment between the foreground planetary system and a background star,” said Dr. Eamonn Kerins at Jodrell Bank.

‘The chance of a background star being affected in this way by a planet is ten to hundreds of millions against one.

‘But there are hundreds of millions of stars towards the center of our galaxy. So Kepler just sat and watched them for three months.

‘It is basically Jupiter’s identical twin in terms of its mass and its position relative to the sun, which is about 60 percent of the mass of our own Sun.’

Like Jupiter, K2-2016-BLG-0005Lb is thought to be gaseous rather than rocky, according to Dr. Kerins.

Jupiter orbits the Sun (a year in Jovian time) in about 12 Earth years (4,333 Earth days).

Similarly, it is estimated that K2-2016-BLG-0005Lb takes 13 Earth years to orbit its star – although this is only an estimate, based on ‘a single snapshot’ from Kepler, said Dr. Kerins.

“We actually do not see it circling,” he told MailOnline. ‘So there is a margin of error that means it can be as short as 11 years or as long as 21 years.

The research team does not know if there are any other planets in this solar system other than K2-2016-BLG-0005Lb.

This is an artist's impression of the Kepler Space Telescope, which was decommissioned by NASA in 2018 after nearly ten years of service.

This is an artist’s impression of the Kepler Space Telescope, which was decommissioned by NASA in 2018 after nearly ten years of service.

WHAT ARE MICRO LENSES?

Predicted by Albert Einstein 85 years ago as a consequence of his general theory of relativity, microlensing describes how the light from a background star can be temporarily magnified by the presence of other stars in the foreground.

This gives a short light burst that can last from hours to a few days.

Approximately one in every million stars in our galaxy is visibly affected by microlensing at any given time, but only a few percent of these are expected to be caused by planets.

The now-retired Kepler telescope spent nearly a decade in space looking for Earth-sized planets orbiting other stars, but scientists are still analyzing its data.

Kepler was launched in 2009 and was decommissioned by NASA in 2018 when it ran out of fuel needed for further scientific operations.

It was launched specifically by NASA for the purpose of identifying planets outside our own solar system, known as exoplanets.

K2-2016-BLG-0005Lb was discovered using data obtained in 2016 by Kepler.

It was found using gravitational microlensing, an observational effect predicted in 1936 by Einstein using his general theory of relativity.

When one star in the sky appears to pass almost in front of another, the light rays from the background source star are deflected due to the ‘attraction’ of gravity to the foreground star.

To find an exoplanet using the microlens effect, the team searched through Kepler data collected between April and July 2016, regularly monitoring millions of stars near the center of the galaxy.

The goal was to look for evidence that an exoplanet and its host star temporarily bend and magnify the light from a background star as it crosses the line of sight.

Following the development of specialized analysis methods, candidate signals were finally uncovered last year from the Kepler data using a new search algorithm.

Among five new candidate microlens signals detected, one showed clear indications of an anomaly consistent with the presence of an orbiting exoplanet.

Five international ground-based studies also looked at the same area of ​​the sky at the same time as Kepler, including the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), located on Mount Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

To confirm the Kepler results, ground-based surveys also looked at the same area of ​​the sky at the same time as Kepler, including the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), located on Mount Mauna Kea, Hawaii (pictured)

To confirm the Kepler results, ground-based surveys also looked at the same area of ​​the sky at the same time as Kepler, including the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), located on Mount Mauna Kea, Hawaii (pictured)

THREE ‘EXOPLANETS’ ARE ACTUALLY STARS

Scientists have studied the thousands of exoplanet finds confirmed in the Milky Way galaxy, and three of them have been shown to be stars.

A team from MIT in Cambridge looked through planets discovered using the NASA Kepler Space Telescope and double-checked the measurements to see which ones match known planet sizes.

They identified three objects that are simply too large to be planets, based on new, more accurate measurements taken by the European space agency Gaia Telescope.

Read more: Three ‘exoplanets’ are actually stars

At a distance of about 83 million miles from Earth, Kepler saw the anomaly a little earlier and longer than the teams observing from Earth.

The new study exhaustively models the combined data set and definitively shows that the signal is caused by a distant exoplanet.

“The difference in vantage point between Kepler and observers here on Earth allowed us to triangulate where along our line of sight the planetary system is located,” said Dr. Kerins.

‘Kepler was also able to observe continuously by weather or daylight, allowing us to determine the exact mass of the exoplanet and its orbital distance from its host star.’

In 2027, NASA will launch the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, which will potentially find thousands of distant planets using the microlens method.

Nancy Grace Roman was one of the first women to work at NASA and a key figure in the development of the Hubble Telescope.

Meanwhile, the European Space Agency’s Euclid mission, to be launched next year, may also conduct a microlensing exoplanet search as an additional scientific activity.

“Kepler was never designed to find planets using microlenses, so in many ways it’s incredible that it has,” said Dr. Kerins.

The telescope will also make an enumeration of exoplanets to answer questions about the potential for life elsewhere in the universe.

The telescope will also make an enumeration of exoplanets to answer questions about the potential for life elsewhere in the universe.

‘Roman and Euclid, on the other hand, will be optimized for this kind of work. They will be able to complete the planetary count started by Kepler. ‘

‘We want to learn how typical the architecture of our own solar system is. The data will also allow us to test our ideas on how planets form. This is the start of a new exciting chapter in our search for other worlds. ‘

The study has been submitted to the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and has been made available as a pre-print on ArXiv.org.

NASA CONFIRMS THERE ARE MORE THAN 5,000 PLANETS OUTSIDE OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

NASA has confirmed that there are more than 5,000 known planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets.

The US space agency has added another 65 exoplanets to the online NASA Exoplanet Archive, bringing the total number to 5,009 per year. April 1, 2022.

This number was at 5,005 on March 22, showing that four planets had been added to the total number in just 10 days.

Exoplanets found so far include small, rocky worlds like Earth, gas giants many times larger than Jupiter and ‘hot Jupiters’ in fiery dense orbits around their stars.

The more than 5,000 exoplanets confirmed so far in our galaxy include a variety of types - among them a mysterious variety known as 'super-Earths', because they are larger than our world and possibly rocky.

The more than 5,000 exoplanets confirmed so far in our galaxy include a variety of types – among them a mysterious variety known as ‘super-Earths’, because they are larger than our world and possibly rocky.

NASA emphasizes, however, that only ‘a small fraction’ of all the planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone have been found.

Most exoplanets are gaseous, like Jupiter or Neptune, rather than terrestrial, according to NASA’s online database.

Most exoplanets are found by measuring the attenuation of a star that happens to have a planet passing in front of it, called the transit method.

Another way of detecting exoplanets, called the Doppler method, measures the ‘oscillations’ of stars due to the gravity of orbiting planets.

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