Scientists discover a rapid-orbit exoplanet

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Using NASA’s space telescope known as TESS, scientists have found a new planet outside our solar system that’s almost double the size of Earth.

This planet is unique because it completes a full orbit around its star in less than a day. The discovery was shared in a study on February 12, available on the arXiv preprint server.

Since its launch in April 2018, TESS has been busy. It’s been scanning the sky, looking at over 200,000 stars close to the sun to find planets passing in front of them, which is how we can spot these distant worlds.

So far, TESS has spotted over 7,000 potential planets, and 417 of these have been confirmed.

The team led by Ryan A. Rubenzahl from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) focused on one particular planet, named TOI-1347 b, spotted by TESS. They studied the light from the star TOI-1347 and found clear signs that this planet is real.

TOI-1347 b is quite a find. It’s 1.8 times bigger than Earth and has 11.1 times Earth’s mass, making it significantly denser.

This planet zips around its star in just 20 hours and 20 minutes, and it’s very close to its star—only about 4.43 times the distance from the sun to its surface.

With a scorching estimated temperature of 1,400 K (about 2,060°F), it’s a very different world from our own.

The researchers think that TOI-1347 b is likely made of similar stuff to Earth, given its size and mass. This makes it the heaviest planet of its size found in such a short orbit.

There’s also a hint that it might have a thick atmosphere, but we’ll need more observations from telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope to be sure.

TOI-1347, the star this planet orbits, is a late G-type star, similar to our sun but younger, at about 1.4 billion years old. It’s a bit smaller and cooler than the sun.

But there’s more. The team also spotted a second, slightly smaller planet in the same system, named TOI-1347 c.

This planet is about 1.6 times the size of Earth. They couldn’t measure its mass exactly, but they think it’s no more than 6.4 times the mass of Earth.

This discovery not only adds to our growing list of exoplanets but also offers a fascinating glimpse into the diversity of planets in our universe.

With each new planet found, we learn more about the cosmos and our place within it.

The research findings can be found in arXiv.

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