New Saturn-Like Planet 60 Times Bigger than Earth Discovered
- March, 30, 2019 - 15:50
- Science news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – NASA has discovered a planet which has about 60 times the mass of Earth in a habitable area in space called Goldilocks.
The space agency’s world hunting mission called the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has spotted a Saturn-like planet it is provisionally calling TOI 197.01.
The giant planet circles a star which is slightly heavier and larger than our sun.
Steve Kawaler, study co-author and Iowa State University professor of physics and astronomy, said: “This is the first bucketful of water from the fire hose of data we're getting from TESS.
“The thing that's exciting is that TESS is the only game in town for a while and the data are so good that we're planning to try to do science we hadn't thought about.
“Maybe we can also look at the very faint stars — the white dwarfs — that are my first love and represent the future of our Sun and solar system.”
The planet, described in a paper that will be published in The Astronomical Journal, was discovered by studying seismic waves called starquakes in stars where the brightness appears to shift.
This indicates an orbiting planet.
TESS was launched in April and is hunting for worlds in an area in space called the Goldilocks zone, where conditions are warm enough to allow water which is the foundation of life.
Lisa Kaltenegger, lead author and member of the TESS Science team at Cornell University, said: “Life could exist on all sorts of worlds, but the kind we know can support life is our own, so it makes sense to first look for Earth-like planets.
“This catalog is important for TESS because anyone working with the data wants to know around which stars we can find the closest Earth-analogs.”
At least 408 stars may well be supporting planets the size of Earth which could receive a similar amount of radiation we receive from our sun.